Winter Farm Tips
Feb 07, 2022
Unfortunately, last week ol’ Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter. This forecast can be a challenge for farmers whose outdoor chores never end. Snow is falling? The cows still have to be fed. Freezing temperatures? The stalls still have to be cleaned. Ice on the ground? The water troughs still have to be filled.
Luckily, there are plenty of techniques, tools, and time-savers that you could use to make the job a little easier this winter. Consider these five tips:
Minimize hay waste
Feeding quality hay is the best way to ensure your livestock meet their energy requirement in the cold. Most livestock can be quite messy eaters, though. When the ground is wet and muddy, this can result in an abundance of lost food. If you are unable to move the hay under shelter, consider using troughs or hay nets to reduce the amount that gets trampled on the ground.
Section off new paddocks
Keeping your livestock out of their normal pastures during the winter months can save your pastures from hoof damage during the wet, muddy season. Consider penning them in a smaller paddock, sometimes called a “sacrifice paddock” so that your main pastures will be ready for spring.
Focus on critter prevention
You’re not the only one who doesn’t like to be outside in the cold. Don’t be surprised when mice, rats, squirrels, and other critters take refuge in your barn. Make sure to seal entrances into your feed room and utilize rodent control techniques such as traps, critter-proof storage containers, and barn cats.
Work on your maintenance repairs
Who said you can’t change the filters and fluids on your tractors and mowers during the winter? Winter can actually be a great time to catch up on all of your maintenance and repairs before spring arrives, since most farm activities slow down during this time. If you have a suitable workshop, close the doors and enjoy a cozy indoor day working on your machines.
Keep a generator handy
Winter storms can lead to power outages. Have a generator on hand for your home and barn so that you are able to run some lighting and continue to pump water for your animals. Using a generator will also keep your pipes from freezing if the power were to go out for a lengthy period of time.
Come visit us at your local Co-op for winter supplies to finish out the season strong! From your barn, to your home, to your equipment, we’ve got you covered.
For more content like this, check out the latest issue of the Cooperator