We all know it’s coming. Yet, every year it seems like Mother Nature takes us by surprise when fall turns into winter. Sometimes, these surprises come even earlier, like this fall, when one of the largest storms on record hit our area, dumping up to 40” of wet snow on our neighbors in Montana. Storms like this are a great reminder to take advantage of a break in the weather to prepare your farm or ranch before the next blizzard. The suggestions below can help make sure you’re ready when the next winter wallop arrives.
1. Survey your surroundings
Start with a total inspection of your property including buildings, machinery, equipment, walkways, gates, and wiring and service, repair or replace any items that need upgrading.
2. Prepare provisions
Take an inventory of feed you have available and order anything in low supply to have a good stockpile on hand. Make sure everything is properly stored and easy to access. And, don’t forget to check your own pantry, too!
3. Secure your staying power
Icy or snow-packed roads could delay power companies from reaching you if you lose electricity. Having a generator or two on hand to power waterers, refrigerators, heaters, and other equipment is always a good idea. Having enough gasoline, diesel, and propane on site to fuel your equipment is also vital. And, install carbon monoxide alarms in shops and other buildings that use nonelectric heaters.
4. Test the waters
Make sure you have spare parts and light bulbs for electric waterers and consider investing in a heater or two for stock tanks.
5. Have a healthy dose of supplies on hand
Cold fronts can be stressful on livestock, resulting in sick animals and cows calving earlier than expected. Are you ready to treat illness or take care of a surprise calf or two? Make sure your livestock are up-to-date on their immunizations. Take an inventory of your animal health and calving supplies to make sure you have everything you may need in an emergency to keep your animals safe.
6. Get out all of the bugs
One big upside of winter is no (or almost no) bugs! Take time to inventory your pesticides, clean and drain pesticide application equipment, and safely discard any expired products. When storing pesticides, read storage temperature recommendations and always store dry pesticides above liquid pesticides.
7. And keep the mice away
And, one big downside of winter is rodents moving in! Control rodents by keeping items picked up, making sure all feed containers and bags of feed in containers are covered.
8. Be neighborly
We can all use a little help from a friend, especially in the winter. Check in on all your neighbors, especially those that are elderly, so that everyone knows who might need help if the weather brings its worst.
If it’s time to get new ranch or farming equipment or upgrade or replace inefficient equipment to make sure your operation is ready to weather the winter and beyond, your neighbors at The Bank of Gillette can help.today and let them lend a helping hand.