Preparation for the Winter

17 October 2013

A very warm and dry September has been a help on many heavy farms but lighter farms were reporting a drought situation with reduced grass growth. This seems to have sorted itself out with most areas getting some rain in the early days of October. Late spread fertiliser is working well with many farmers reporting good supplies of grass. All silage is completed now and stocks seem to be more than adequate on most farms. Early silage test results are excellent which will have a positive effect on animal performance over the winter period.

Spring Milk

Cows are currently in late lactation on spring calving farms. Yield is decreasing but the constituents (fat and protein) are increasing and give this milk a higher value, with current healthy milk prices it is making the end of the year more lucrative for farmers, which is more than needed. Quota and super levy are an issue for many farmers. If you find yourself in situation with quota:

  • Talk to your co-op or milk processor and decide on a plan
  • Dry off cows earlier if this is an option, dry cows will still require feed and there is a cost associated with early dry off which should not be forgotten.
  • Once-a-day milking could be an option on some farms.
  • Take the opportunity to cull problem cows, e.g. high SCC cows, lame cows, low yielders, cows missing teats, poor fertility cows, etc.
  • In some situations supplementary feed can be reduced but ensure cows are not hungry, losing condition or facing a mineral deficiency.
  • Calculate feeding costs and make any decisions with as much information as you can.
  • Get silage analysed and talk to the nutrition team at Connolly’s RED MILLS for the best advice regarding your winter plan >059 97 75800 or
  • Above all, remember these cows will be expected to milk for 10 months from Jan/Feb/March of next year and any major change to management will have an effect on them.

Winter Milk

  • Autumn calving cows are in the middle of their transition period at the minute, ensure Body Condition Loss is kept to a minimum by feeding to yield and appetite
  • If you are feeding silage/maize/wholecrop/beet, ensure it is balanced properly and mineral shortfalls are made up (e.g. Phosphorous would be deficient in Maize and Beet based diets). Talk to the Connolly's RED MILLS Nutrition Department for the most suitable feeds for you, 059 97 75800 or
  • Breeding season is fast approaching, make sure minerals are adequate and energy levels per cow are maintained. Connolly’s RED MILLS Dairy feeds contain protected minerals which will aid the cows fertility and now contain more available forms of copper and zinc


The indoor feeding season is upon us again and has already started for some farmers who are finishing cattle before Christmas. It is important to decide on your plan for each group of livestock, weigh some animals if you have access to the equipment. Talk to Connolly’s RED MILLS regarding the best option for your feeding program for the winter.

  • Decide on targets (date of finish, Daily Live Weight Gain).
  • Get silage analysed and talk to the Connolly’s RED MILLS Sales Rep or Nutrition Department for the correct product and feed rate to achieve your targets
  • Clean sheds and power wash and disinfect for upcoming season
  • Ensure slurry is all spread before deadlines.
  • All maintenance is completed, checking slats and mats if fitted ensure water supply is adequate
  • Decide now on your control program for internal & external parasites, also preventative measures for respiratory infection. Speak to your local Connolly's RED MILLS Sales Representative for details, or call in to one of our stores at Connolly’s RED MILLS, Goresbridge, Co. Kilkenny, Morrins of Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow, or Rothwell’s of Tullow, Co. Carlow.
  • When housing cattle, ensures pens have the correct amount of animals as this will reduce fighting, lameness and injury and bullying of weaker, shy animals. Your cattle will also be cleaner.
  • Don’t mix bulls when housing, try to maintain the same groups of animals.
  • If feeding 2 or 3 times per day try to keep it regular to ensure the best performance.

We hope the good weather continues and all maize and beet is harvested without incident. If you have any queries or questions regarding our products or you require some advice, don’t hesitate to contact your local Red Mills Sales Rep or direct at 059 97 75800.