Winterizing Your Barn
It’s that time of year again! While radio stations begin playing holiday music and stores across the country begin stocking holiday lights, farmers are preparing themselves for winter. Although winterizing your farm may seem like a daunting process, it can actually be really simple. Here are a few things to consider to get the most bang for your buck.
This is the top consideration on my list! It is very important for livestock to have access to clean fresh water all year long regardless of temperature. Any farmer, including myself, has experienced the nuisance of having to break through ice in waterers on a cold winter morning. As the temperature gets colder, consider making some changes in equipment to make for a hassle free winter! A heated waterer keeps the water free of any ice and features an adjustable thermostat to accommodate for any climate. If your livestock are housed out in a field or in an area with no access to power, then an energy-free livestock waterer, which supplies up to 150 beef cattle, can be used. The waterer utilizes heavy insulation and geothermal energy to keep the water from freezing year round, even during severe weather conditions. Installing a heated waterer can save a ton of time all winter long and can also keep your livestock healthier by providing them with a continuous water supply all the time. Heated waterers are a must have every winter for all of my livestock!
Hay and Silage Cover
With the high cost of hay and grain this winter, protecting your valuable feed supply is a must. When hay gets rained on valuable nutrients are washed away. You also run the risk of the hay becoming rotten or moldy. By utilizing hay tarps, you can keep your hay dry and out of the weather so that it provides a nutritious feed source for your livestock all winter long. Remember that extra ratchets and tie downs for your hay tarp are always recommended because they increase the life of the tarp by anchoring it down more securely. If you prefer to store your round bales spread out in the field individual hay bale covers are the perfect solution. They come in many different sizes to fit any round bale size and can be uncovered one by one throughout the winter. Silage Film and silage bag covers are useful tools to have when covering silage for the winter. These will help to reduce spoilage and feed waste.
Close up your barn and keep heat in with a custom barn curtain. They are available in any weight from 5.2 oz. to 22 oz. If you need more insulation than a traditional barn curtain, there are a number of different insulated curtains available to provide extra warmth for your barn. There is even a clear version of the insulated curtain to let light through on the coldest winter days! Remember to install an anti-billow system to prevent wind from catching, and ruining, your brand new curtain. This can be done with rope and eye screws or ratchets and strapping. Some farmers also choose to install wire mesh on the inside of the barn curtain to prevent their animals from chewing on it. If you are curtain shopping on a budget don’t worry. Check out FarmTek’s Remnant Curtain section for something that may work for your barn!
Now that you have taken care of closing up the barn and covering all of your hay and silage, it is important to take care of all the rodents that will move into your nice warm barn with an ample food supply. Rodents can be controlled with a variety of methods, from traps, like repeater traps or glue traps, to bait, like bait blocks or rodenticide. Bait blocks can be used in tandem with bait stations so that you can put your bait in a covered location. If you are worried about pets or small children getting a hold of the bait, FarmTek also carries a line of tamper-resistant bait stations that are lockable and keep the bait in place within the box so that it cannot be shaken out.
With a few inexpensive improvements to your barn like these, you can go into the winter months knowing that you and your livestock are prepared for anything that Mother Nature throws at you!
How do you prepare for winter at your farm or business?