Extreme Cold

Posted: 1/12/2015

by Rebecca Christman


Unless you’ve been on vacation lately, you know that it’s been COLD here in South Dakota. While no one loves being outside when it’s cold it, the freezing temperatures make life on the farm a little bit harder.


While the rest of us get to run from the car to the office in the morning, farmers spend their days outside.  Cold weather seems to make everything on the farm take just a little bit more time. The tractor takes a little longer to start in the morning, you are moving slower because of the 20 pounds of clothes you’re wearing, and the ice makes driving equipment around the farm slow at best.


The cold and snow create a few extra chores around the farm.

  1. Snow removal -  Moving snow off the road is necessary to drive equipment to do chores.
  2. Chipping ice – When it’s this cold the cattle water freezes almost immediately.  If you’re a farmer you’ll probably be chipping through a few inches of ice at least a couple times a day to make sure the animals have fresh water to drink.
  3. Scooping out feed bunks – If there’s a fresh snow, it seems to blow right into the feed bunks and fill them up.  They need to be emptied before feeding time.



You might be wondering about the animals that live outside in this weather. Unlike us, cattle are comfortable when it’s cool out, and can maintain their body heat when the temperature is down to -30 degrees*.  Their thick layers of fat and hide keep them warm.  Check out this experiment to see for yourself.  



Farmers and ranchers typically bring cattle closer to home in winter pastures so they can watch them closely during colder months.  Windbreaks also provide protection from wind and snow. 


While cattle are able to handle these temperatures, for a farmer it can be physically exhausting to spend the day outside in the cold.  If you know a farmer, now would be a great time to send over an extra thermos of coffee or hot chocolate.


Bundle up and stay warm out there!


Listen to this week's radio segment here! FARMERS_DAUGHTER-JAN_12TH.mp3





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