Ranchers spend long hours on the ranch and extreme weather can make this work more challenging. By preparing your ranch for cold weather now you can minimize the amount of time you have to spend out in the cold. Here are our tips on how to winterize the ranch and stock up on essentials before the next blizzard blows through!
- Identify and prepare winter grazing field. Cattle can actually graze through almost a foot of snow, however, supplemental feed will also be needed. Ensure that the fences and gates in these fields are in good working order and repaired before the ground freezes. Stockpiling forages is also very helpful and ordering extra loads of feedstuffs to have a good stockpile on hand is a good idea.
- Test you winter forages and understand the value of them. This is important whether you produce your own or purchase forage from another rancher. Working with an animal nutritionist is a great way to find out exactly what nutrients they might be missing in order to add supplements where needed.
- Create a water plan. Make sure you have parts and light bulbs for electric waterers and a heater or two could be useful for stock tanks. Cattle prefer to drink warmer water, and will drink less if it is cold. That’s why stock tank heaters are so useful, they help to keep the cattles’ water intake up.
- Fuel up. Make sure you have plenty of gasoline, propane and diesel on hand to fuel tractors, generators and trucks. Adding additional power sources is also advisable. Having a generator or two at hand could really save the day if the ranch loses electricity and you need to power waterers, refrigerators, heaters or equipment.
- Prepare a winter calving location, if necessary. In some cases, calving will take place during the winter. This is normal but the low temperatures can be problematic for young calves. Prepare areas for cattle now by adding feeders, checking shelter, and fixing fences. Ensure you are checking on cattle regularly, and have shelter prepared for pairs to keep warm once calves are born.
6. Add lighting. Adding lighting to key areas of the ranch will help you and your employees to get your work done with less daylight hours. If this is not feasible then invest in additional flashlights and headlamps.
We hope that this blog has given you some helpful guidance. If you have any questions or queries about ranch real estate in Northern California or any of our ranch property listings, do not hesitate to contact us here.