It’s important that farmers don’t get lulled into a false sense of security around the weather and the impact it could have on farms this winter.
Yes, it has been unseasonably mild up to now, but that’s not to say that we won’t get heavy frosts, cold weather or snow before the season is out.
While it has been mild, it has also been wet, and this has led to floods in some places.
As Darren Carty reports on page 56, some farmers have been finding that water ingress into slurry tanks has been a problem on some farms.
The main cause is shoots overflowing at the eaves and valleys in between sheds, allowing water to get in during a downpour.
Darren offers some advice to help prevent that, while also giving some tips on pneumonia prevention in cattle this winter, as the warm temperatures seem to be causing a lot of pneumonia issues.
Meanwhile on page 54, I take a look at some of the options available to farmers for back-up electricity generation in the event of a power cut this winter. Up to now, losing power was generally the result of a fault on the line, or the aftermath of a weather event such as a storm.
Energy security is now another concern and there are indications that if weather turns very cold and wind turbines stop turning or slow down due to calm weather, there may not be enough energy generation capacity to keep the grid energised, resulting in blackouts in some locations.
On page 57, Martin Merrick goes through some of the steps farmers should take in order to ensure that pipes, taps and troughs do not freeze over during the worst of any cold weather that comes our way.
In the big freeze of 2010 and 2011, many external pipes froze, meaning cattle and other stock couldn’t get access to water.