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Baby It's Cold Outside!

All of North America has been hit by an extreme cold snap this week. Many people that don't usually get cold snowy weather are getting a taste of old man winter. With it came extreme cold temperatures...

All of North America has been hit by an extreme cold snap this week. Many people that don't usually get cold snowy weather are getting a taste of old man winter. With it came extreme cold temperatures and lots of snow. Where I live snow and cold are not a new thing. We do still get some extreme weather as seen this year. We are only half way through winter and have already received at least 3 ft of snow and many days of below -30 Celsius temperatures.

This got me thinking about some addition winter costs we may not think of. The biggest one I think is the addition cost of feed. As we all know as the temperature drops cows tend to eat more feed to keep warm. In some instances this can be a lot of extra feed based on the quality of hay available and how cold it gets. This is a hard thing to prevent but there are ways to help reduce these costs.

The biggest way to reduce feed consumption is to provide proper shelter for the cow. Quite often it is the wind and blowing snow that have the biggest effect on the cows body temperature. When the weather gets really cold try to feed close to shelters and wind breaks to help the cows stay as warm as possible. Another big help is to provide some straw for bedding if available. Straw is relatively cheap compared to hay and can help provide addition warmth to the animals.

Another cost we may not think of is additional wear and tear on machinery. I've fed cows with a bale shredder and tractor in -30. Machines, especially hydraulic systems, do not like to operate when it is that cold and when they do they consume more fuel. Because of this there are usually more breakdowns associated with colder weather. Some ways to help are to have a heated shop to be able to store your feed equipment in. This does not have to be heated to extremes; around zero is more than enough.

Another option which can save you even more money is to look into alternative feeding options. Swath and bale grazing require no equipment being started in the winter. So not only do you save money on repairs but also all those fuel costs. Not saying this is right for everyone but it is definitely a big way to save money. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to do all your feeding by pickupBusiness Management Articles, quad or skidoo. Gives you a reason to be able to write off that new toy too!

Another thing to think of is to make sure you provide your animals a good quality source of mineral. It is proven that animals with a balanced diet including a proper mineral supplement are healthier and less likely to become ill. During cold weather anything to help boost the immune system is a bonus. Think of how much money you would save in vet and medication costs by reducing the occurrence of illness.

Hope these few tips will help you get through this cold snap. It is during these times that myself and many others really appreciate all the hard work and dedication you put into raising livestock to help feed the population. We tip our hats to all you hard working farmers.

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Jen Gutfriend,The progressive livestock producer's profitability coach, works with progressive livestock producers who struggle with low profitability and lack of time. She helps them reduce costs, increase revenue, all while having more time to do what they enjoy! Get her free video lesson, "Learn the one biggest change you can make on your farm to increase profitability" at

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