Friday, January 6, 2017

Cold Weather Challenges

It's outright miserable out there in this frigid January weather!!!  Thoughts and prayers are with the many dairy farmers out there working hard to keep everything going, and believe me it is going slow for many of them on days like today.  It was -20 when I woke up this morning.  Those temperatures are downright dangerous for any unprotected skin and that includes cow skin.  These temperatures freeze up engines and doors.  There are water lines that freeze and fountains that freeze.  I thought I would brain storm all the different ways dairy farmers are experiencing working challenges this week.
  • Frozen water lines that take hours to defrost and get much needed water to livestock.
  • Engines to tractors have cold oil and fuel making them hard to start making chores hard to clean pens and deliver feed.
  • Batteries are cold, making starting machines practically impossible.
  • Water in pails to baby calves is frozen and impossible to drink which means that farmers have to feed water more frequently and make sure it is always warm.
  • Milk in calf bottles cools down fast and baby calves need warm milk.
  • Silage (fermented forage/plants) has become frozen and it takes extra work by the equipment to break up the pieces of silage into bite sized pieces for cows.
  • Calf starter is stuck together and hard, which takes more work to allow calves to eat their food.
  • People are cold and frozen, and there are not enough layers of gloves and water protection to keep the cold and wet out.  Milking cows makes your fingers go numb.  Feeding calves makes your hands go numb. 
  • Driving 4 wheeler makes your eye lashes frozen solid and  your face cold and numb.
  • Just the slightest breeze makes your eye lashes freeze shut and your snot drip out your nose.
  • Water hoses in the parlor freeze before you can clean up after milking.
  • Milk freezes on the milking units making it impossible to clean up well without a heater.
  • The heated shop is the most popular place on the farm.
  • Manure freezes onto any metal surface it touches including the skid loader bucket and manure spread.  Manure also freezes to concrete floors.
  • Doors freeze shut making you walk around buildings to get inside.
  • Water fountains become impossible to walk around unless you want to look like a little old lady with a walker.
  • Skating rings appear on every road with heavy traffic.
  • Dangerously low temps cause teats to freeze and can cause skin damage.
  • Finding new born calves is critical because if a wet newborn is left outside she will freeze immediately in these temps, first losing her ears and then her hooves in serious cases.  Thank goodness for calf jackets and calf warming pens!
All in all we want everyone to stay safe and be careful. 

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I write this blog to share my passion for my cows and farming, please be respectful of that. I reserve the right to delete those comments which portray hate, call names, and are out right disrespectful. If you have an honest question, I will respond, to explain what we do on our farm, why we do it and how we do it. Please read with an open mind. My time to blog is short, as most of our days are spent caring for our beloved cows. Thank you!