Winterize Your Dairy Farm

Published on Mon, 10/19/2015 - 3:46pm

In and Around the Barn

  • Take the time to pick up any items in the yard that may become buried under a snowbank or may become entangled in a snow blower.
  • Put up appropriate snow fence or snow breaks in yards for protection and to minimize drifts in areas where they are not wanted.
  • Consider bringing in extra fill, or mounding areas that are muddy or troublesome spots in the spring.
  • Check curtains on barns to make sure they are operating properly.
  • Check minimum ventilation fans, to make sure they are functioning properly (i.e. belts tight, blades clean)
  • Inspect and repair building roofs and rafters, making sure there are no loose tin panels or cracked rafters.
  • Do preventative trimming of trees around barns, driveways, and fences.
  • Move calf hutches to areas that are accessible in the winter and provide wind protection for livestock.


Prepare Equipment for Winter

  • Test and service generator(s) and make sure there is adequate fuel on hand to run them.
  • Winterize and service farm equipment such as tractors, semi’s, skid loaders, pay loaders, feed mixing wagons, manure pumps, etc. Producers will want to take time to check batteries and fuel filters, as these items routinely fail in cold weather.
  • Examine snow blowers or other snow removal equipment and make sure it is in proper working order.
  • Obtain and store enough fuel (No. 1 Diesel and gasoline) to run equipment for an extended period of time. (A two-week supply is suggested.)
  • Check and clean barn heaters to make sure they are operating properly.


Feed and Water Checklist

  • Clean and check heating elements in all water drinking fountains.
  • Repair any water fountains or water lines that may be leaking. Ice buildup is a hazard to livestock.
  • Have adequate feed supplies moved in for easy access to the dairy farm. It is recommended to have a two-week supply of purchased feedstuffs.


Keep Animals Safe and Comfortable

  • Have a two-week supply of veterinary supplies commonly used on the dairy such as antibiotics,
    intra-mammary mastitis treatments, electrolytes, calcium solutions, antiseptics, bandages, needles,
    and syringes.
  • Make sure there is adequate bedding for all livestock.
  • Examine body condition and hair coat of various groups of livestock.
  • Evaluate housing for livestock in open lots, making sure there is adequate wind protection and the ability to get bedding pack built up for them in inclement weather.


Other Items

  • Develop a plan with milk haulers and milk buyers for options if milk is unable to be picked up for an extended period of time.
  • Partner with neighbors, and develop a plan if necessary, to do your own snow removal on public access roads.



Floury Grain Continues Success at the World Forage Analysis Superbowl

Continuing an impressive run of success at the World Diary Expo’s World Forage Analysis Superbowl, a Masters Choice floury corn hybrid has been selected as the first place finisher of the Standard Corn Silage division. This comes one year after a Masters Choice sample was chosen as the event’s Grand Champion, as well as the Grand Champion, First Time Entrant.

This year’s winner, submitted by Daniel Olson, of Lena, Wisconsin, was a sample of MC5660, coming in with a ‘milk per ton’ of 3730 lbs. With their two samples this year, Masters Choice has placed a total of 10 samples in the Top Ten, over the last three years.

“The winning of this award really is a reflection of the sentiment that we are seeing on dairy farms across the country, as floury grain becomes a staple in their product lineups,” said Lyn Crabtree, the Masters Choice President.

Floury grain offers the agronomics and yield that is associated with standard corn silage, but adds the benefit of increased starch digestibility. Dairy producers are also noticing its benefit in early season feeding, as floury grain is known to “beat the fall slump,” because of its higher starch availability numbers without the need for extended ensiling.