NEAR LAKE CITY, Minn. (KTTC) – Last week’s extreme cold did a number on the Midwest, closing schools, businesses, and even stopping postal deliveries.
While much of the region was at a standstill, farmers were working through it all because livestock doesn’t care if the thermometer reads -30°. They still need to be fed, and milked, and in some cases kept alive.
The January 29th – 31st Arctic cold snap made even some of the heartiest Minnesotans say “Uff Da!”
“It means headaches,” said dairy farmer Keith Kohrs.
While much of the Midwest closed up shop, farmers around the region battled the elements to take care of their livestock.
“The cows have to be milked twice a day or you’re going to have big problems,” said Kohrs.
But making sure the cows were fed and milked was not the only issue Kohrs had to deal with last week, his manure spreader was put out of commission.
“I tried shoveling it off, but it was freezing faster than I could get it off,” said Kohrs.
The cold weather took its toll on other essential farm equipment as well, even though Kohrs had them plugged in to engine block heaters.
“It makes chores a lot harder, everything starts harder,” said Kohrs. “We had to jump start both of our skid loaders and the tractor just barely started, but it did start.”
The milking parlor wasn’t spared either, various milker machines froze up creating a delay in getting the cows milked.
Kohrs heard the cold hit other farmers even harder.
“I’ve talked to other farmers and [the same things] happened there too,” said Kohrs. “Some people lost calves. I talked to a couple guys who lost some calves through it all. We ,thank goodness, didn’t have that happen to us.”
Despite those risks, Kohrs loves what he does.
“It’s rewarding,” said Kohrs. “If everyday was like those three days in a row, I might be doing something else but thank goodness everyday is not like that.”
Kohrs tells KTTC that his cattle did produce less milk during those three days and ate more food in order to keep warm.
Kohrs continued on to say that since cattle are hearty livestock, they actually prefer the cold weather over summer’s heat and humidity.