FARMING MATTERS Getting the yards ready to bring the suckler herd in

Suckler cow with calf out in the field
Suckler cow with calf out in the field

At this time of year many livestock farmers are preparing their buildings for winter. Our suckler herd enjoys being outdoors during the spring and summer months and the late autumn, but soon the cows will look forward to coming indoors.

So now is the time when the buildings, yards and cattle handing pen are maintained and repairs done to make sure everything is in good working order.

Supplementary feed is being taken out to the fields each day now that the grass has stopped growing, but this also makes it easier to bring the herd in at the right time, as they become used to following the trailer.

The cows of course can remember the yards from last year and by the time we do bring them in they are usually keen to do so. But the calves have little memory of the place where they were born, and every now and again one gets detached from the herd as the cattle all run into the yards and so there is additional work involved in rounding up the strays!

Once in the yard, the herd is sorted into age and gender groups, settled in with straw bedding and hay,and then given extra silage and cattle cake.

From that moment on almost every day is taken up with feeding the herd twice a day until the spring when the cattle go out again.