Despite a prolonged harvest season and with the days starting to shorten, farmers will now be preparing to bring their livestock inside for the winter and perhaps storing their harvested grain for winter animal feed or waiting for their malting-quality grain to be uplifted.
It has been a difficult year, compounded by low prices in many sectors, poor weather and trying working conditions. The net effect of all of these has been that the farming community is trying to reduce costs whenever it is possible. All too often though, these savings can put pressure on other parts of the business as well. For example, putting off repairs to where livestock are going to be overwintered can simply create a larger repair bill later in the year when the weather can be against us and a simple job takes twice as long.
Now is the time to prepare the whole farm for the winter months. The old adage “A stitch in time, saves nine” is never truer than at this time of year.
Farmers are advised to take time this year, to walk round their buildings and make note of any repairs that need to be undertaken and make sure that their farm sheds and courts are up to scratch – gutters have been cleared of leaves and other debris; any loose slates have been re-attached or missing ones replaced and any leaks have been plugged.
Another area that can easily be overlooked until there is a problem is free flowing drains. Check all drains or ditches are clear from debris. If there are any blockages arrange for these to be cleared to prevent potential flooding issues. It is recommended that all shed doors are checked, re-hung or strengthened as required, in order to minimise any wind damage that may occur during the autumn storms.
Tidy up and dispose of any packaging and used net or wrap. These can help provide shelter in the colder months for rodents if not removed. Vermin are likely to be more prevalent at this time of year with a tasty food source easily at hand. The laying of baits may need to be increased and farmers are reminded to update their bait plan in the farm records if additional locations have been added.
Where time and space allows, it is worth treating the machinery to a thorough post-harvest service and deep clean. This will help in keeping equipment in good working order for next season and may also reduce the likelihood of fire damage whilst equipment is stored up for the season.
Any comments or questions? Please contact Jean Arnott-Glennie on 07881 093485 or email [email protected]