Assessing whether the cows that have been outwintered are fitter for spring calving compared to penned cows.
Glynllifon College Farm is a college that shares good practice and new techniques among farmers in Gwynedd. They want to assess whether cows that are outwintered are fitter for spring calving compared with penned cows.
Equipment will be installed on two groups of breeding cows, some out to pasture on CEL crop and some penned on straw. The aim of the trial is to measure the skills covered and to measure the calving ease of the two groups; it is estimated that it will be much less work helping the outwintered cows as their muscles are much stronger and the calves will be more active on birth.
The College will monitor the condition, weight and health of the two groups of cows. Data will be collected via innovative equipment that will be placed on the cows and downloaded to a computer for analysis.
Outwintering cows on a food crop can save significant costs in winter, but not much work has been done on the health and welfare benefits for these cows. The view is that these benefits will be most obvious during the calving period.