It’s been an almost textbook autumn 2021 with mild weather and good grazing conditions, meaning that housing was delayed by four to eight weeks on many farms across the country.

Some dairy farms are still managing to keep grazed grass in the diet via zero grazing. Exceptional growth over the last few weeks, coupled with really good ground conditions, has reduced silage requirements on many farms for October and November.

Winter 2021 hasn’t really kicked in yet and it’s already coming close to the end of November. Animals have all been housed at this stage though and the winter routine has started on most farms. This brings extra work on farms and puts extra time pressure on part-time farmers.

A little planning and preparation can go a long way in reducing the time spent in the yard over the next few months.

A simple thing like having a bowl water drinker in a calving pen as opposed to turning on a hose, waiting for buckets to fill and lugging it across a dark yard at night, could save a lot of time and effort when time is scarce in mornings and evenings.

When you are under pressure, accidents are more likely to happen. Declan Marren takes a look at keeping farmyards a safe place over the winter months including tips on lighting and keeping yards tidy.

We also take a look at silage quality and what to look for when testing silage this winter. Planning for the unexpected is also important.

Aidan Brennan takes a look at generators and what to look for when purchasing a generator for a backup electricity supply on dairy farms.

Darren Carty’s look at rodent control on farms over the winter months.