As winter in Minnesota infamously is, one minute we are enjoying abnormal warm temperatures and the next minute we are experiencing severe winter weather. A severe winter storm can impact your livestock, buildings, machinery and personal health and safety very quickly. These hazards can be avoided through proper planning and taking the right course of action.
The most important thing is to allow for extra time to do everything.
Here is our guide to the key areas for planning ahead, being attentive to weather conditions and preparing for how to act in severe weather.
Farmers are reminded to dress appropriately, layer clothing and cover all extremities when going out in winter conditions to avoid frostbite. This includes keeping your body dry and removing any clothing that may get wet immediately. As a reminder, frostbite can cause the loss of limbs. If your skin has bad prolonged exposure to the cold and shows signs of frostbite (feels waxy or unusually firm, red and painful or has white or grayish-yellow color), seek medical attention immediately.
When preparing your farm for winter weather, remember to check your outside lights for working bulbs and replace them if needed. Accidents such as slips and falls can be prevented when good lighting is in place. Of course having good traction can help as well. Make sure to have your snow removal equipment and materials such as salt ready to rock for dependable use when needed.
If you calf your beef cattle in the winter, make sure to move the cows into the barn to protect the young. Below zero temperatures can be fatal to newborn calves and even older cows.
Remember to have a plan in place for a backup energy source. Although hogs and poultry often live inside of barns, they are not exempt from preparing for winter hazards. If there are power outages caused by winter storms, would your animals survive without a backup heat source? Plan ahead.
Two catastrophic events to prepare for with buildings include roof collapsing and carbon monoxide poisoning. We recommend building a roof snow management plan for your farm buildings so that everyone is on the same page.
Remember that although closed doors help keep sheds warm inside, there is no ventilation if machinery gets started. If you notice symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911, shut down machinery and open doors to ventilate the area.
Are your tractors up to date on their performance screening? Do you have everything on hand for diesel treatment? Simple things like keeping tractors plugged in when cold, keeping fuel tanks filled, checking antifreeze and making sure to use diseasel treatment will make a huge difference this winter.
Stay safe this winter season and get your farm prepared today! If a claim situation arises please give us a call right away! We are here to help.