How to prepare for heavy rainfall

Thursday, 5 September 2019

In areas of high rainfall, some are facing challenging ground conditions as we prepare for the last rotation of 2019. Minimising the risk of poaching by using alternative gateways, back-fencing grazing paddocks and practising on-off grazing will help to maintain grazed grass intakes while reducing the risk of soil damage as we aim to set up 2020 grazing season to a good start.

Walking paddocks before letting livestock in to graze is key to double-check ground conditions are sufficient for grazing. Avoiding walking over previously grazed areas is key to minimise the negative effect on re-growth and soil structure. If you are trying to graze heavy covers and poaching becomes an issue, move the group to lower covers to help hit target residual of 1500 kg DM/ha (4cm). If heavy land is saturated, you may have to move to a dry paddock to graze while conditions are wet.

With more unsettled and heavy rainfall forecast for the weekend and more flood warnings issued for some areas check out our top tips for dealing with extreme rainfall:

  • Consider how you will inform staff about an impending flood and how staff may be able to help you prepare
  • Make sure you evacuate flood-prone fields early so animals do not become trapped by rising water
  • Identify fields at higher ground where livestock can be moved to safety and gain permission to use these in advance of flooding if they are not your own
  • Maintain ditches to ensure rapid run-off after flooding, as excess soil moisture is as damaging as surface water
  • Identify stock, machinery and tools that can easily be moved off the farm to prevent loss or damage
  • Consider purchasing a stockpile of useful materials that can be used during a flood such as sandbags to prevent water entering barns or sheds, plywood to board up windows and pallets to raise stock and equipment above floodwater level
  • During floods, livestock need food and clean water. Be aware that existing stocks and supplies may have become contaminated

You can find more detail about signing up for flood warnings here or by calling the 24/7 service Floodline on 0345 988 1188.