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Do Farmers Take Winter Off?

If you’re a farmer, know a farmer or generally around farmers, you’ll know the well asked questions “So, what do you do during Winter?” The preconception being – not a lot! Becoming accustomed with day time TV, visit some family and generally have a rest…

 

WRONG!

 

Just because the weather turns colder and the days become shorter doesn’t mean a welcome break for farmers. If anything, this is when certain tasks around the farm (dependant on what you’re farming) become essential. Farmers are the ultimate example of ‘fail to prepare, then prepare to fail’.

 

Farming may sometimes look glamourous, being able to wander through golden fields, sheep dog in tow, chewing on a piece of barley; but don’t forget, farming is a business. Farmers need to make money and need a strategy just like anyone else running an enterprise.

 

Included in that strategy is Winter. And here’s what some farms do to maximise their labour effectiveness through the cold months:

 

Maintenance

 

One of the biggest and most important tasks on the farm is the maintenance of equipment. Almost every farm now uses machinery to increase productivity and reduce the number of physical man-hours for safety and cost reasons.

 

Ever tried starting your 10-year-old car up on a frosty morning? Wish you’d have taken it for its service last month? Well farming equipment is exactly the same. Without regular and proper maintenance, some machinery will simply seize up and refuse to work during Winter and into Spring.

 

Administration

 

As we mentioned above, farming is just like running any other business. The fundamentals are exactly the same: you need to turn a profit to keep up and running. This means that there is usually a significant amount of administration and paperwork to complete to keep on top of finances and make sure you’re turning a profit.

 

What better time to make sure this is all in order than when it’s cold and dark outside!? Throw some more logs on the fire, make a brew and get your business administration head on. Remember: it’s all about preparation when it comes to farming, and paperwork is no exception!

 

Spring Livestock Prep

This obviously only applies to livestock farms, but is an important and significant task to undertake in Winter.

 

Preparing livestock such as sheep for the lambing season will help both the farmer and the livestock. Around February time the sheep will be brought in for pregnancy screening and housing, being sorted into groups of how many lambs they’re expecting to give birth to.

 

From there the feeding of concentrates begins, and a few lambs will have already been born. Vaccination and feet trimming is completed for all breeding ewes, and then around March the real lambing begins!

 

The lambs are given 24 hours’ attention which means many sleepless nights for the farmer – which is why the preparation during Winter is essential to make sure that lambing season goes as smoothly as possible!

 

Take a Break

 

So, after reading all of the above, which is only what goes on during early, mid and late Winter – do you feel farmers deserve a break? We do!

 

While things will naturally slow down, and there is only so much paperwork you can catch up on, Winter is the perfect time for farming families to visit relatives, take a short break in the sun, but where farming differs from most careers – it’s a lifestyle, and one which they love. So, the farm will always be in the forefront of their mind.

 

 

Farming is in our blood and we love to see profitable and sustainable farms doing well. If you’d like to find out more about any products we offer to help farms manage pest damage, feel free to give us a call for a chat or drop uv