Agriculture is an intense industry that goes all year long. Different seasons have different demands to ensure a bountiful harvest. Knowing how to prepare your farm for the winter is vital to protecting your crops, animals and equipment as well as yourself and any employees.
Shelter Your Animals
If you operate a dairy, cattle, or horse farm, your livestock is one of your most important assets. You need to protect your animals and keep them warm during the winter. As temperatures drop, animals can suffer from cold stress, and their nutritional requirements increase to keep up with this change. You’ll have to provide animals with more energy sources through feed, energy supplements, or milk, depending on the age of the animal. It’s important to keep them sheltered, too. Enclosed shelters should be well-ventilated and in good condition. Make any necessary repairs, such as fixing leaky roofs or broken doors, to keep your animals warm and secure.
Check Your Crop Insurance
If your farm focuses on crop production rather than livestock, then you need to check your crop insurance to ensure winter coverage. Follow the contract to see what liabilities you have and what your insurance does and doesn’t cover.
Store Tools and Machinery
Protecting your machinery and equipment from the snow and cold is essential for the spring thaw. Once spring hits, you’ll need every piece of equipment to be in proper condition. Fuel up your vehicles, and keep them in good repair. Do some basic maintenance by checking the battery, ignition system, thermostat, lights, and tires, and check and replace their fluids, including the oil, antifreeze, and brake fluid.
Ensure Water Storage and Access
Proper water storage and access is also important. Turn on water heaters and inspect them to make sure they work, and check on your irrigation systems periodically to ensure no damage has occurred. You should store water for irrigation and livestock in tanks or reservoirs; use industrial tank liners as an easy, cost-effective way to increase the water tank’s durability in the cold.
Do Basic Maintenance
Since you won’t have much do to in terms of crop maintenance, take this time to do some upkeep around the barn or house. Finish up some deep cleaning or home improvement projects. These will keep you busy on top of your diminished farming tasks.
Take Care of Yourself
Finally, take this time for yourself, too. Winter maintenance can be intense work, so relax and enjoy the warmth and comfort of your house from time to time. Get some new winter clothes, boots, or gloves if you need them.