An animal health project is encouraging farmers to undertake more 'social distancing' in cattle herds to ensure optimum cow health and welfare over this winter.
As the weather becomes colder, the thoughts of many cattle farmers across the country will be turning to housing their stock.
And as people keep two metres apart to prevent the spread of Covid-19, experts are calling on farmers to ensure cattle are in top condition, including providing enough space for feeding.
Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC)’s Stoc+ flock and herd health project has published a list of five tips for farmers to follow this winter.
Project leader Dr Rebekah Stuart said: “For optimum live-weight gain from your cattle over the winter months, feeding space is important, unless feed is available constantly.
"There must be sufficient space for all to feed at the same time, without shyer animals being bullied away," she said, adding that it was also advisable to sort weaned youngstock into groups of similar size and weight.
In addition to ensuring space for all to feed, according to HCC the four other key factors to consider when turning in livestock are trace element nutrition, pregnancy detection, avoiding lameness, and checking for parasites.
Dr Stuart explained: “Blood testing cows at housing will help identify any trace element deficiencies from grazing, and will allow plenty of time to correct this in time for spring calving.
"Housing time is also a good opportunity to check pregnancy of cows, and decide whether to serve them again or remove them from the herd if barren.”
Treating and separating any lame cattle at this time should also have a positive impact on the overall health of the herd, she added.
"Checking for fluke and mites, and consulting with vets on the best treatment, will also pay dividends in terms of keeping stock in the best condition over the winter.”