Farming Matters: Keeping the herd fed and watered

A farmer feeding his cattle indoors on a winter's day
A farmer feeding his cattle indoors on a winter's day

The main job for a beef cattle farmer during the winter months is feeding his livestock.

A herd of cows, calves and bulls can munch their way through an inordinant amount of food each and every day, as well as gallons of water.

Their diet can consist of hay, silage, barley, cake (not the sort you and I might enjoy!), and this all has to be put in front of them using large machinery.

Naturally, all this eating and drinking will result in huge amounts of waste material - manure.

So the management of this is another regular job during the winter months.

Where in the past, manure was pitchforked out of buildings by hand, these days industrial machines drive into the yards and collect it with huge metal buckets.

The manure is then tipped onto a heap where it is left to rot, to be used to spread on the land as premium natural fertiliser later in the year.

And as the manure is removed from the yards, clean bales of straw are put into the yards to provide fresh bedding.