With calves now at grass the calf sheds on dairy farms should be empty, which makes it a good time to clean and disinfect them.

The last few months on farms have been busy, with calving quickly turning into breeding and first-cut silage also thrown in on top.

There was also the issue on many farms of having to deal with drought conditions, which only increased the workload further.

But as things quieten down for a couple of months it is a good time to get your sheds cleaned and disinfected ahead of housing and the arrival of calves in spring 2024.

Getting these sheds cleaned and disinfected is vital to ensure that infection levels are kept under control next spring.

Calf sheds

It is important that the calf shed is not only cleaned out, but disinfected, as bacteria present in the shed could potentially cause sickness in the next batch of calves.

Leaving straw bedding in the shed for an extended period of time will only increase the amount of bacteria present within the shed.

Steam cleaning is then the best way to remove as much bacteria and disease from the shed as possible.

If scour or another disease has been an issue on your farm this year, it is important to determine which form of scour/disease was present. You should then purchase a disinfectant that is known to work against this scour-causing bacteria.

By using a disinfectant that kills the scour-causing bacteria, the issue should hopefully be eliminated and not continue to cause problems next year.

The calving area or shed should be given the same treatment as the calf shed, as it can also harbour bacteria.

Now that the cubicle sheds are no longer in use until the winter, it is also a good opportunity to get these sheds power-washed and clean ahead of housing later this year.

This will help at housing to reduce the presence of bacteria in the shed and also hopefully reduce infections such as mastitis.

Any cubicle mats that are damaged or cracked should be replaced. These cracks have the potential to harbour bacteria.