News Flash

Wright County News

Posted on: December 9, 2020

U of M Extension Offering Advice for Livestock Farmers as Winter Approaches

By Karen Johnson, Extension Educator – McLeod and Meeker Counties

Recently, I was working with a farmer that was trying to get his automatic waterers functioning efficiently for winter. The heating element had been disconnected from dairy heifers playing with the waterer over the summer. Good thing he was getting the waterer ready for winter because he was able to find a defective float as well. How about you? Have you considered all the ways to get your livestock ready for winter?

Animals in general have three different processes to prepare themselves for winter. One, livestock can grow long, thick coats to provide insulation against cold weather. If livestock are not exposed to the cold such as in a warm barn, they acclimate to the temperature of their given environment. The hair coat needs to stay clean and dry to provide the best insulation protection. Two, livestock tend to put on more weight in the winter months. Be sure to talk with your nutritionist ahead of time to make sure that your livestock have enough energy in their diet to help protect them from the cold weather. Three, animals naturally adjust their metabolic rate to help produce more heat to help maintain their core body temperature. This need for energy takes these resources away from other body functions such as milk production if a higher energy diet is not provided.

What are some things that we can do as farmers to get ready for winter? Think about the basic needs of all living things and apply them to your livestock. Food, water and shelter!

Nutrition – Livestock need more calories to keep themselves warm, especially during some of the bitter cold winters we have experienced recently in Minnesota. Discuss with your nutritionist or feed dealer the ideal options for your herd and facilities. You may consider sorting out thin animals in order to provide them more specialized care such as a higher energy ration and less crowded, draft-free shelter.

Water - Be sure to be checking your waterer or water tanks regularly for frozen water. Frozen water or excessively cold water significantly limit water and feed intake of our livestock. Animals, like humans, prefer the temperature of the water to be between 40 and 65 degrees. Consider utilizing a thermometer to determine if tank heaters and waterer heating elements are in proper working order.

Shelter - Provide a shelter for livestock to get them out of the elements. A wind break is one solution; however, providing a roof is ideal. Providing deep, clean, dry bedding is essential to help keep the animals warm. Remember that a clean dry hair coat provides significantly better insulation than a dirty, wet hair coat. Also take time to evaluate your building for drafts that can create a problem. Look around doors, windows and curtains for areas that should be sealed.

There are two other things to keep in mind. One is that livestock that remain healthy throughout winter can fair cold temperatures more efficiently. Work with your veterinarian to keep livestock in tip top shape and up-to-date on their vaccinations. The other thing to consider is that with cold temperatures comes ice! Ice creates unsafe walking surfaces for both your livestock and yourself. Consider ruffing up the surface and adding sand or gravel for traction.

Now is the time to make necessary repairs or adjustments to keep livestock safe, healthy and happy this winter season. Take advantage of the nice weather while it lasts to ensure your livestock have the nutrition, water, shelter, health and traction they need for winter.

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Wright County News

Deadline to File for Homestead Approaching

Posted on: November 23, 2021

MnDOT Provides Update on I-94 Construction

Posted on: November 16, 2021

Santa Coming to Bertram Park Dec. 4

Posted on: November 3, 2021

License Center Camera System Down

Posted on: November 3, 2021

DNR Releases Updated Fall Color Map

Posted on: October 1, 2021

County Board Approves 2022 Preliminary Levy

Posted on: September 28, 2021

Second Half Property Taxes Due Oct. 15

Posted on: September 22, 2021

DPS Labor Day DWI Campaign a Success

Posted on: September 15, 2021

Public Health Releases COVID-19 Dashboard

Posted on: September 7, 2021

Extension Provides Crop Update

Posted on: August 23, 2021

DNR Releases 2021 Waterfowl Handbook

Posted on: August 10, 2021

MPCA Declares Air Quality Alert

Posted on: July 29, 2021

Veterans Career Fair Tomorrow

Posted on: July 28, 2021

Wright County Has Job Openings

Posted on: July 23, 2021

WCEDP Has Redesigned Website

Posted on: July 9, 2021

WOW Van in Monticello Today

Posted on: July 1, 2021

WOW Van Coming to Monticello July 1

Posted on: June 23, 2021

Wright County Fair Schedule Released

Posted on: June 21, 2021

Highway 30 Project Delayed

Posted on: June 1, 2021

May 9-15 Is National Police Week

Posted on: May 11, 2021

Appointments Open at License Center

Posted on: April 30, 2021

DNR EagleCam Up and Running

Posted on: April 27, 2021

Roadside Spraying

Posted on: April 22, 2021

DNR Has Interactive Bird Song Page

Posted on: April 21, 2021

Appointments Open at License Center

Posted on: April 2, 2021

First Half Property Taxes Due May 17

Posted on: April 1, 2021

I-94 Construction Ramping Up

Posted on: March 29, 2021

HHS Announces New Call Center

Posted on: March 26, 2021

First Half Property Taxes Due May 17

Posted on: March 24, 2021

Virtual Tour of Justice Center

Posted on: March 10, 2021

Fish Houses Must Be Off Lakes By Monday

Posted on: February 24, 2021

Two 4-H Summer Internships Available

Posted on: February 17, 2021

Members of Solar Farm Work Group Named

Posted on: February 16, 2021

I-35W Bridge to Glow Purple Tonight

Posted on: February 16, 2021

View Today's Press Conference

Posted on: February 11, 2021

Sheriff's Office Statement on Shooting

Posted on: February 9, 2021

County Offices Closed Monday, Jan. 18

Posted on: January 15, 2021

Public Health Releases COVID-19 Dashboard

Posted on: December 31, 2020

DNR Warning Residents About Thin Ice

Posted on: December 18, 2020

MEADA Receives $125,000 Federal Grant

Posted on: December 10, 2020

Seeking Interested Candidates

Posted on: December 1, 2021