Winter weather is on the radar for the end of the week in my neck of the woods, and although we’ve been blessed with an unusually warm fall season, it’s time to winterize the ranch before the first blizzard hits. Here is our ranch checklist to prepare for cold and snow:
1. Make your list and check it twice
Just like Santa, we’ve got our own list to make and check twice in order to prepare for a big blizzard. The list includes back-up items needed in case of an emergency and we’re unable to get to town. Have the following on hand for “just-in-case” scenarios: light bulbs for the electric waterers, extra fuel for tractors and vehicles, generators, winter clothing and gear washed and ready to wear, chains, electric heaters and thermoses to keep the coffee hot while working outside.
2. Move everything closer to the home place
Sometimes we feel a little bit like squirrels as we pocket away the essentials before winter hits. Hay has been moved close to the feeding area. Wind breaks have been repaired and solidified. And it’s time to consider whether the cattle need to move closer to home or if hay should be hauled out to the fall pastures before the storm hits.
3. Plan ahead in case of snow
In case you get snowed in for a few days, ask yourself if you have enough feed, veterinary supplies and other essentials on hand. Grind an extra load or two of feed. Buy extra protein supplements to have on hand. Stock the refrigerator and medicine cabinet with the basics. And don’t forget to buy a few extra pairs of warm gloves, wool socks and face masks to keep workers warm and morale high even in the coldest of temperatures.
4. Prepare for loss of power
A few days without electricity can be disastrous on a ranch. Stock the kitchen with easy-to-make meals. Have a backup plan for a water source if the electric waterers won’t work. Double check that your generators will start, especially if the last time you used them was last year. Don’t forget to program your electric company’s number into your phone, too, so you know who to call for wire repairs.
Did I miss anything? Add to my list in the comments section below. Let me know if winter has hit your area and how your ranch prepares for cold, snowy weather.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.