See A Snow Day On Barber Farms [Photo Gallery]
Cows don't pay much attention to winter weather advisories...
Come see how we handle a snow day on Barber Farms.
When I'm not on the radio, I'm at home at our family-owned dairy farm. As you might expect, snow and sub-zero temperatures make it that much harder to get the chores done at Barber Farms. Our herd of Holstein dairy cows need to be milked twice each day, at twelve hour intervals. On our farm that means 3pm and 3am. Our girls also need to be fed almost non-stop during the winter months. They need all of the energy that food provides to stay warm and make lots of milk. The milk cows eat grain made from corn, and hay inside the barn and after they are milked they go into the barnyard where they eat a feed made of corn and hay silage and more grain.
Our milk is picked up and transported by a tanker truck once a day. The driveway needs to be clear so that the semi-truck can get to the barn where the tank is, and there have been a few days this winter where someone has had to go out on our local roads to plan the easiest and safest route to get the milk truck to the farm. All in a day's work!
Barber Farms also has a large herd of young male cows (steers) that we raise for beef, and young female cows (heifers) that will eventually become part of the milk herd. The outside hutches are always filled with baby cows (calves) as well.
Of course, that many cows generates a pretty fair amount of...poop! The cement barnyard needs to be kept clear of snow and ice because cows slip and fall very easily. The barn needs to be kept clean at all times because we ship milk for commercial use, as well. There is always a tractor and manure spreader (and the smell!) entering or leaving the driveway.
Snow makes all of those chores more difficult and time consuming. Even big John Deere tractors can get stuck in snow drifts! Their diesel motors don't run well in frigid temperatures, and they can be hard to start, as well.
Farming is a 24 hour a day, seven days a week kind of job, no matter how cold it is, or how much snow Mother Nature decides to send our way.
I took my camera out Saturday, during the snow storm. We didn't get as much as they said we would, but it was enough to capture what a snow day means at Barber Farms.