January 20th, 2018

Cold snaps challenge life on the farm

By Tim Kalinowski on January 13, 2018.

Arrowhead Ranch owner Dale Weiss breaks ice to allow cows to drink at his farm on Friday. Extreme cold always adds extra challenges to local farm operations.--NEWS PHOTO TIM KALINOWSKI


tkalinowski@medicinehatnews.com
@MHNTimKal

Extremely cold temperatures do make for additional challenges in taking care of livestock in the area, and for farm operations in general, says Arrowhead Ranch owner Dale Weiss.

“Getting equipment started is probably the hardest thing,” explains Weiss. “The hydraulics and stuff freeze up. But as long as your cattle are well fed, and have shelter, they cope with the cold quite well.”

Keeping the cattle fed properly, and keeping water sources free of ice, is crucial to getting cattle through a frigid spell, says Weiss.

‘You got to watch your calves a bit more carefully when it’s this cold,” he admits. “You make sure they are eating. If they are not eating, that means there is something wrong. All cattle eat a lot more when its cold to keep themselves warm. I kind of watch them to see if they eat it all. If I see them not eating it all and laying down on it to use it for bedding instead, I know them I am giving them just the right amount.”

On the watering side of things, Weiss has a frost free watering system which does not freeze up easily. However, extreme cold poses some challenges on that front too.

“In these cold temperatures it’s not totally frost free,” says Weiss. “On a cold day like today there is some ice on it, which I can break with a piece of wood. The more the cows drink the warmer the water is, and the less likely it will freeze.”

While this winter has been very cold at times, Weiss does not mind too much. He is happy to see more snow this winter than the previous two years.

“Actually, I would take way more snow,” he states. “Especially now that it is January, it might as well snow.”

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