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Preparing for housing on dairy farms

Mairead Kirk, Dairy Advisor Teagasc Louth advises on preparing for winter housing. Starting with the cubicle shed, ensure it is cleaned, inspect all fixtures for damage or defects. Act now while sheds are empty. Are supplies in place; straw, lime, salt? Planning now will ease winter workload


Over the last week there has been a definite change in weather and attention now needs to turn to preparing winter housing. First on the agenda should be a thorough check of your cubicle shed. If not already done, all sheds should be power washed and disinfected. The cubicle mats, lights, drinkers, feeding barriers, agitation points, slats and gates should all be inspected for damage or defects. It is a lot easier to carry out repairs now when sheds are empty. Think back, was there anything that caused you trouble last winter? Act now to fix it.

Secondly you need to think about supplies needed for winter housing. Straw is particularly scarce this year. Have you bought or ordered your straw supply? Lime for cubicles will also be needed. If you have a milk lorry travelling in frost will you need a supply of salt? Having a plan for housing specific groups of cows and cattle is a good idea. Minimise stress at housing to avoid costly and time consuming disease outbreaks. A little bit of forward planning now can go a long way in easing your winter workload.