During daily checks, consider the factors below for deciding when to implement your contingency plan.
- What does my current break look like?
- What is the gumboot score?
- What is the next break looking like? Are you moving into a drier area?
- Has the next break got any shelter?
- Are you able to see where the animals have been lying? Finding ‘lying bowls’, the marks cows leave in the soft crumbly soil, indicates that animals have been lying there.
- Do your cows have a lot of mud on their flank? This indicates they have been lying on an unsuitable surface, and alternatives need to be provided.
- How are your animals acting? Calm and content, or getting restless?
- Is this normal behaviour for your herd?
- Is the weather improving?
Careful management of your wintering system each day will ensure a successful winter for all involved. Taking the time to create a fit-for-purpose plan for staff and implementing this on farm will help to clarify roles during winter and ensure everyone knows what is expected. Teams that have completed a formal adverse weather plan will be able to take action quickly when needed.
Complete a plan for winter 2021 that will help protect the environment, animals and your team. Download plan here.
Including animal care factors in your wintering plans ensures the whole farm team understand the levels of care expected on your farm during winter. For more information on what to include in your plan click here.
Photos: Ensure your team knows their role to play this winter. Every task is essential.