The mild weather this back end looks set to leave, with cold weather, ice and some snow forecast for this week.

There has been a noticeable change in the weather already, with much cooler conditions seen the last few days.

With that in mind, here’s a reminder of a few things that may be affected by the cold weather expected in the coming days.

Water troughs

The obvious first thought is water troughs and associated pipes, particularly concrete troughs that aren’t in use.

If temperatures do drop as expected, there is a risk of water freezing in these troughs and possibly leading to them to crack.

So, emptying out these troughs should be a priority.

Water troughs such as this one out on the grazing platform should be emptied to reduce the risk of water freezing and cracking it

If a farm’s water supply is coming from a deep well, the deep submersible pump should not freeze. However, the pipes and fittings connecting the pump to the water tank (into the shed) are at risk.

Therefore, it is important to insulate any exposed pipes and if possible, to have all water pipes underground. An option for farmers is to install a thermostatically controlled fan heater in the pump house.

If a pipe is frozen and cannot be thawed, having access to an alternative supply of water should be considered.

For example, if possible, tap into the underground supply outside the shed and attach a hose to fill the water troughs.

However, it is critical to ensure that the connection to the underground supply is well-insulated after use and to drain all the water away from the connecting hose after the water troughs have been filled.

Milking parlour

Milking parlours and associated equipment are at risk during the cold weather too.

To prepare for any affects, it is advisable to ensure that all doors into the parlour are kept closed.

Letting clusters hang down after the wash has gone through will help to remove any water that could potentially hold and freeze over as well as in the jetters

Anywhere where water can hold and possibly freeze should be drained where possible.

Circulate a saline solution through the milking machine, having first made sure that all the detergent has been rinsed out of the plant.

The saline (salt) solution can be made by mixing half a kilo of salt in five gallons of water.

If circulating a saline solution, rinse again before milking to remove salt traces.

Let the machine run a little bit longer to ensure that all excess water is removed from the plant after the final rinse.

Your safety in the cold weather

Make sure to wrap up in the cold weather to avoid getting sick yourself.

If possible, get ahead of yourself and have bales of silage pushed in so that will you avoid driving the tractor and doing work that could be avoided in instances where there is snow and where roads and farmyards are icy.

A useful resource to have around the yard would be grit and salt to ensure safe access to sheds in the event of snow or icy conditions.

Always keep your phone charged up and at the ready in case it is needed, e.g. in the event of an emergency.