Farming in the Wintertime
In the winter you wouldn’t think that farmers would be doing much because we have no crops in the fields. But in the winter farmers are just as busy as the summer, sometimes busier.
One thing we’ve done in the winter months is set up warming boxes for our newborn calves. These boxes have a heat lamp in them that helps dry the calf off and keep her warm.
After about 24 hours in the warming box we take out the calf and put her in an individual hutch bedded down with sawdust and straw, and a blanket is also put on her.
In addition to some extra attention given to our calves, our cows and heifers also need extra care during the winter. We had to keep an eye on the waterers for all the older heifers and cows (younger heifers and calves are watered individually so we can monitor their food intake). Our waterers have heating elements in them to keep them from freezing, but in brutally cold weather the waterers still freeze.
Cows also burn more energy when it’s cold out, so we increased the calorie content in their food to keep up with their energy needs.
The winter also brought along many problems with our equipment. With it being so cold we had a hard time starting up the equipment in the morning for feeding the cows. To prevent this we plugged in the tractors the night before to make an easier start. Finally, there was the unending problem of ice. It was hard to be moving around heaving equipment with all the ice, and making sure there were cleared pathways for the milk truck to come in and pick up our milk.
There are lots of extra steps farmers take in the winter, but they’re all worth it, knowing our animals are healthy and comfortable.