Minnesota Farmer

Baby, It’s cold out there!

Today I awoke to -17 degrees fahrenheit with only a little of that prairie wind blowing.  The forecast is for it to warm up to about 22 tomorrow and then the really cold temps will roll in.  Winter in Minnesota can be brutal.

Now is the time I’m glad I’m no longer in livestock production.  I remember those cold mornings out there on the open tractor feeding cattle.  Thawing out waterers and battling ice were never any fun.  Neither was dealing with hogs who were thirsty or hungry with a -40 F windchill freezing your fingers.  Dealing with livestock in the cold was not easy on me or the animals.images-2When the snow would pile up we also had to move snow to keep the animals inside the fence.  Usually that included loading it on a spreader and hauling it to the field since it was liberally filled with manure.  Yes, taking care of cold stock is not easy.imagesCold stock also got sick easier, and never grew as well as they did in warmer weather.  Now compare the pictures of the snow-covered livestock with this one of pigs in a modern barn.100_1883Where do you think we should be raising our animals?  Isn’t warm and dry better than cold and wet?

The thought of animals grazing peacefully on a springtime pasture is what drives people who are against modern livestock production.  They think that all animals should be raised that way.  The problem is that spring is only a small part of the year.

Those raising stock out-of-doors battle the weather most of the year.  There is the cold and snow of winter, the wet dirt and rains of spring, the heat of summer and the dry of fall.  Every season has its challenges and when weather changes livestock can get sick.  Our livestock are much less likely to need medication when raised in a climate controlled barn than out-of-doors.  These are the reasons I am happy to see animals moved inside.

Today I am glad that I no longer have chores to do outside.  The cold winter days spent taking care of stock are now behind me and I can choose to stay inside or go out and do a few chores that do not involve working with frozen feed or water.  I can be inside where it is warm, and those raising our livestock in a warm barn are happy today too.



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[…] Michael Wojahn says Baby It’s Cold Out There […]

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