Many people have been curious about how the recent severe winter weather has affected our farm. Fortunately, we were able to prepare for the storm by taking several measures. We made sure that feed ingredients arrived ahead of the snow, and we hauled manure prior to the storm so that our manure storage areas were empty. We also ensured that our livestock outside was adequately bedded to keep them dry. Our milk hauler waited as late as possible to empty our bulk tank so that he would have enough time to get here to empty it. We have about 2.5 days of milk storage in our 5000-gallon capacity bulk tank. Our milk hauler typically comes every 48 hours and hauls about 3800 gallons of milk.
Since we milk with robots, the weather doesn’t affect them. Our barn is heated by the body heat from the cows, but we do have supplemental heat over the barn cleaning area to keep it thawed 2. However, we faced two major challenges during the storm: getting employees here and getting our milk hauled. While it is nice to have a snow day, our employees rely on us and we rely on them. Thankfully, we have a vehicle that navigates snow well, so John made the trek to go get one of our employees. John had to backtrack and take different routes, but we were able to get our feeder here after about 2 hours, which normally takes less than 30 minutes to drive here. Then the next challenge was getting our milk hauler here and getting him up our ½ mile lane. Our milk hauler called as he was approaching our lane, then we took the tractor and loader to the end of our drive to plow the lane in front of him. The snow was drifting in as quickly as we could plow. While we were fortunate not to have to dump milk, we were within about 30 minutes of capacity.
As well as we were prepared for the storms, we still had issues of keeping waterers running, so we carried hot water to thaw the automatic waters for the livestock, and we had issues with keeping our skid steer loaders operating. Our silos froze up, which was expected, so we fed silage from our bagged silage. One strategy we use.. we put our machinery in the barn where it is warmer. This has proven effective in the past and it worked again this year.
We are looking forward to warmer weather for the next few days and hopefully some of our snow will melt so that we have room to push snow for our next snowfall. I doubt we are done for the year.