Are you Ready for Winter | Farm Insurance

Are you Ready for Winter | Farm Insurance

Winter brings freezing weather conditions which can affect farming in several ways. To help Farmers with advice, the Department of Defence have launched its ‘Be Winter Ready’ campaign. While Farm Insurance is important, “Prevention is better than cure.”

The main affects of bad weather with which you will be familiar include;

  • getting food and water to livestock
  • the delivery of feed to farms
  • transport of products from farms

Freezing is also a serious problem which can cause damage to;

  • water pipes, sheds and outdoor water troughs,
  • the freezing of milking machines
  • equipment in milking parlours
  • freezing of coolant and diesel

Bearing all of these possible situations in mind, the Department’s Be Winter Ready booklet has some great advice for farmers:

Housed Livestock

Food is not usually a problem for animals housed indoors, but provision of water is still an issue which has to be taken care of.

The most vulnerable groups of animals to water shortage are milking cows, animals on high concentrate diets and animals fed hay, straw or other very dry feeds.

Water Requirements

Dairy cows must have access to drinking water at all times. A cow producing 30L of milk and being fed a silage- based diet requires 75-90L (16-20 gallons) of water per day.

Finishing animals on high levels of dry feed, such as high concentrate diets have a big demand for water.

These animals should always have free access to water. An animal consuming 10kg dry matter of dry feed will need 60L (13 gallons) of water daily.


Where access to water is reduced guidelines are available for dealing with changing animals diets to reduce the need for water.

The same is true in reverse. When water becomes plentiful again, it can be harmful to the animal to start drinking lots straightaway again.

Out-Wintered Stock

The least of the problems is the cold and once again provided food is available cattle will be relatively unaffected.

Water is the big problem with outdoor stock. Surface ice needs to be kept clear.

Sheep make up the largest grouping of out-wintered stock and advice given by Be Winter Ready is;

  • Ewes in early and late pregnancy have higher energy requirements than those in mid-pregnancy.
  • Ewes in early and late pregnancy should get a supply of forage (hay or silage) and about 0.5 kg meal / day where there is a blanket of snow and no grass available.
  • Ewes in mid-pregnancy will get adequate energy from hay or silage, fed to appetite.
  • Sheep need access to water where dry feeds (hay/meals) are fed. Introduce meal gradually to avoid acidosis.
  • Forage should be fed in a round feeder or behind a feed barrier to avoid wastage. Meal should be fed in troughs or on a packed line of snow – this can be made by tractor or quad driving on the snow and forming packed lines. Feed the concentrate, preferably as nuts on the packed lines of snow.

For more got to Be Winter Ready booklet.

And don’t Forget make sure you have all your Farm Insurance needs met by the Experts at ProActive Solutions. Call Anita Halpenny on 041 68 58 400

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