The complete guide to getting your farm pre-calving ready

Doing a few jobs now on a dairy farm can ensure less work later
Doing a few jobs now on a dairy farm can ensure less work later
Catherine Hurley

Catherine Hurley

During the dry-off period, it is important for farmers to take advantage of the ‘slow’ period and organise themselves for the burst of activity that comes with the calving season, according to Teagasc Researcher Marion Beecher, speaking at one of the workshops at the recent National Dairy Conference.

She said that getting a quick pre-calving checklist will allow farmers prepare themselves for the heavy workload that comes with spring time on dairy farms.

Teagasc pre-calving checklist

Calving area

·        Wash, disinfect and bed calving area

·        Calving Gate working properly

·        Prepare a calving kit – jack, leg ropes, gloves and lubrication

Calf shed

·        Wash, disinfect and bed calf shed

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·        Order tags

·        Buy electrolytes

·        Tagger, tags, navel disinfectant, stomach tube ad straw in calf shed

·        Have a fridge and freezer for storing colostrum

Milking Parlour

·        Service milking machine and change liners

·        Buy teat dip and detergents

·        Have tape and marking spray in the parlour pit

·        Stock up on calcium and magnesium


·        Farm map with paddocks labelled on display

·        Fence reels repaired or replaced

·        Temporary fencing posts purchased and stored at central point

·        Roadways cleaned and repaired where necessary

·        Fences checked and repaired

·        Temporary fences put up immediately after urea is applied in January

Animal Care

·        Train in heifers to the milking parlour

·        Clip in calf heifer’s tails

·        Get silage tested – DMD, UFL, PDI and trace elements

·        Dry cow diet, feeding plan in place and supplementation if required

·        Thin cows sorted and fed to gain .5 to 1kg of a condition score

·        Dry cow minerals ordered to compliment silage mineral results

·        Treat dry cows for fluke and worms

·        Vaccinate cows according to farm vaccination plan


·        Dedicated office space and tidy the area

·        Stock up on supplies


·        Have a spare set of wellies, wet gear

·        Visit GP for a check-up 

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