Not Too Soon To Prepare for Colder and Wetter Winter than Usual
October 10, 2014
PINE BLUFF, Ark. –Most Arkansas livestock producers have had a banner year. Rainfall was slightly above average, forage growth was good, and hay supplies strong. But, there is a cloud behind this silver lining, said David Fernandez, Cooperative Extension Program livestock specialist at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
This winter has been predicted to be colder and wetter than average with more snow than usual. And, Arkansas seems to get a lot of ice and wintry mix.
Many winter preparedness steps are common sense, but they are easily overlooked, he said.
Check for limbs that overhang barn, shed and farmhouse roofs. Ice or heavy, wet snow can cause these branches to break and crash through the roof. Falling limbs can also damage fences and corrals.
Power lines leading from the main line to the house or barn should be checked as well. Do not attempt to clear limbs around power lines yourself, he advises. That is a job for your electricity provider. Power lines are extremely hazardous and can cause serious injury or death.
Install heavy use areas around livestock water sources, gates and other high traffic areas. Heavy use areas eliminate muddy areas and deep ruts where equipment, vehicles, animals and even farmers can get stuck.
“Consider installing a farm access road that will allow you to cross pastures while reducing ruts and erosion as well as the danger of becoming mired,” Fernandez said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s EQIP program can help producers with the cost of these improvements, both the road and heavy use areas.
Check livestock shelters to be sure they can support or shed heavy snow and ice loads. Be sure roofs are sound and supporting beams are solid. Be prepared to remove icicles and heavy ice after severe storms.
Consider buying tire chains for your truck or tractor. Getting around on ice is much safer and easier with chains, but, of course, the safest option is to stay inside during icy weather.
Stock up on water and foods that require little or no cooking. Check your generator.
Country living comes with many benefits, but a little preparation can be the difference between a safe, warm winter and a serious injury, loss of livestock and cold days and nights huddled under blankets.
For more information on this or other livestock questions, contact Dr. Fernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 575-7214.
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Program offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
By Carol Sanders, writer/editor
UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences
- Arkansas Farm and Ranch