Catchment Sensitive Farming: Practical Tips

Practical Tip: Out-wintering of livestock

The Environment Agency's publication 'Best farming practice: profiting from a good environment' has the following advice for livestock out-wintering:

  • Provide good access, e.g. 'cow tracks'
  • Use well-spaced mobile feeders and move them regularly to avoid poaching and contamination of feed with soil
  • Site feeders on higher ground away from watercourses and ditches
  • When supplementary feeding, provide sufficient feed blocks and liquid feeders which can be regularly moved and checked using lightweight all-terrain vehicles, e.g. quad-bikes
  • When grazing is extended into winter, especially on wet or heavy land, avoid overgrazing and excessive poaching with back fencing and timely stock control
  • Move stock immediately to other land or housing if soils start to become poached (hoof prints deeper than 50mm or 2 inches) or brown water run-off is apparent
  • Electric fence ditches and streams and maintain a wide buffer between them and grazed land
  • In upland areas protect eroding soils by fencing to encourage regeneration of plant cover
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