Winter Storm Q…

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned…

I always think of this quote every time that we prepare for a bad storm.  Mother Nature has a wonderful way of keeping me humble, and keeping my world in perspective.  With Winter Storm Q currently hitting our area, we are glad that we spent the first part of the week preparing.  The goal is to never interrupt good animal care and that takes planning in the event of a large winter storm.

Cattle resting comfortably before the storm...

Cattle resting comfortably before the storm…

So, how do we prepare for a winter storm on the Feed Yard Foodie farm?

  • Check cattle feed supplies to ensure that we have several days of feed “on site” and easy to get to.
  • Check the water tanks to make sure that each one is operational and in good repair going into the storm.
  • Check both generators to make sure that we can hook them up quickly and easily to provide needed electricity if we loose power.
  • Check the equipment (feed trucks, tractors, pay loaders) to make sure that all of them are full of fuel and ready to run in order to move snow and keep the feeding system operational.
  • Park all necessary equipment inside the shop or the feeding barn to ensure that it is more likely to start when you turn the key.
  • Change the cattle ration (casserole) that we feed to our animals to include more forage/roughage which helps them to generate heat from within and stay  warm despite poor weather.
  • Make sure that everyone knows the plan so there is little disruption to the regular routine.
  • Adjust schedules so that there will not be any cattle traveling to or from your farm during the storm.  No matter how bad it is on the farm, it is worse out on the roads!
  • Pray that God will help you in your chores and keep your crew safe.
  • Remember that the sun will eventually come out and things will get better.
    Rolled corn, ground alfalfa, and ground corn stalks inside of our feeding barn...

    Rolled corn, ground alfalfa, and ground corn stalks inside of our feeding barn…

    A further out view of our feeding barn and feed storage area...

    A further out view of our feeding barn and feed storage area…

    A semi-truck delivering wet distillers grains feed...Before a storm we want to make sure that we have several days of feed in inventory so that feeding will not get interrupted in the case that transportation or commerce gets disrupted...

    A semi-truck delivering wet distillers grains feed…Before a storm we want to make sure that we have several days of feed in inventory so that feeding will not get interrupted in the case that transportation or commerce gets disrupted…

    We have two generators at the feed yard (one is pictured here) to ensure that we can continue to deliver feed and water in the case of a power outage...

    We have two generators at the feed yard (one is pictured here) to ensure that we can continue to deliver feed and water in the case of a power outage…

    Here we are fueling the feed trucks--it's no fun to fuel equipment in the middle of a blizzard...

    Here we are fueling the feed trucks–it’s no fun to fuel equipment in the middle of a blizzard…

    He will need more care to try to mitigate weather stress during the storm, so my crew and I do everything that we can to accomplish that...With a reported 12 inches of snow headed our way with 35 mile an hour winds it may be a long couple of days...

    He will need more care to try to mitigate weather stress during the storm, so my crew and I do everything that we can to accomplish that…With a reported 12 inches of snow headed our way with 35 mile an hour winds it may be a long couple of days…

    While I am anal about preparing the feed yard for a storm, sometimes I forget to go to the store and stock up my own kitchen.  Fortunately, I have an organized teenager who isn't shy about reminding me to feed her too!

    While I am anal about preparing the feed yard for a storm, sometimes I forget to go to the store and stock up my own kitchen.  Fortunately, I have an organized teenager who isn’t shy about reminding me to feed her too!

     

13 Comments

Filed under Foodie Work!, General

13 responses to “Winter Storm Q…

  1. What a comprehensive and educational look at a feed lot operation preparing for Mother Nature to arrive! Congratulations on a great job!

    • Thank you Marty! We started early this morning, but I am so proud of my crew b/c morning feed was delivered to every animal on our farm by 8:30am. Preparation for a storm is so critical to the success of delivering good, consistent care to your animals–that is what animal stewardship/welfare is all about.

      At this point, the snow is falling but the wind is minimal at 10 mph. My favorite farmer is glad to see some moisture falling from the sky!

      Anne

  2. Joanne Atwood

    Praying for you as the storm hits. I hope this “moisture” is a good start.

    • Thank you, Joanne! It looks like we will get at least a foot of snow, but so far all is well. I hope that we will see some warming temperatures in the next few days so that the snow can melt and give the much needed moisture to the soil! I am not sure that we are going to get above about 16 degrees today so it will need to get warmer to allow that great white stuff to do its wonders…

      All the best,
      Anne

  3. Rex

    No wind so far? Hope you are blessed wtih a rare polite snowstorm that stays where it falls.

    • We are hoping for that as well, Rex. It is always nice to have a vertical snow instead of a horizontal one! I hope that you all picked up some moisture as well–I know that we all need it to make things green up this spring.

      Anne

  4. Hope things are going good, Anne. I know snow makes for a lot of extra work. Thank you for all your Agvocacy to share how you prepare for a storm and care for livestock during extreme weather conditions.

    We actually had a nice day here: 25*, no wind and overcast with a few morning flurries. Tuesday and Wednesday were cold and very windy. Sounds like nice temps for the next few days.

    Our first 2 heifers calved today! Looks like our busy season is just beginning.

    • Robyn,

      Thankfully the snow fell vertically which leads to far fewer problems (as you know–horizontal/blizzard snow conditions are terrible)…We are getting along just fine and were glad to see the clear sky and a sunrise this (Friday) morning! It is cold (we were right at zero degrees at dawn), but the wind is behaving which is a tremendous blessing.

      Good luck with calving!
      Anne

  5. When I talked to my Grandma tonight she said you were already getting snow. I hope it’s not too much. You have a very organized routine in the feed yard 🙂 I hope you get some food too 🙂

    • We have about a foot of snow on the ground–my kids are already making noise about wanting to go sledding on Saturday 🙂

      We are very organized–that is a very key part to good farm management and animal welfare/care. It is so much easier to deal with challenges when you are prepared and organized. When you think about BQA and the HACCP mentality that it is based on, preparation and organization going into a storm is a great practical implementation of those principles.

      I did eat too—My hubby and my crew are pretty good at harrassing me enough that I take care of myself 🙂

      Anne

  6. Larry

    What are the two different ear tags for?

    Thanks

    • Hi Larry,

      Great question! I actually get asked that pretty frequently. One of the tags is a “cowboy” tag that we put in at the feed yard so that we can keep track of the animal’s home pen, then the yellow tag is a PVP compliant tag that certifies the ranch of origin and the birthdate of the calf. I blogged right before Christmas about ear tags because so many readers had questions. Here is the link to the post: https://feedyardfoodie.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/whats-in-a-name/

      Thanks for reading!
      Anne

  7. Pingback: Blizzard Warning… | Feed Yard Foodie

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