Farmers prepare for sub-freezing temperatures, wind chills

Farmers prepare for sub-freezing temperatures, wind chills

FORKS TWP., Pa. - The bone-chilling temperatures that are on tap for our region aren't just a problem for humans. Animals are also in danger.

Layne Klein, owner of Klein Farms in Forks Twp., Northampton Co., has been through this before.

"Their body temperature is usually 101," said Klein. "They have a leather coat. They do like it a little cooler, but the really, really cold weather will stress them out."

That's why workers have to make sure the nearly 200 cows on their farm are in a safe place.

"I always say dot your i's, cross your t's before cold weather comes," added Klein.

It's hard work that includes placing some cows in the milking barn because the fields are filled with water that will freeze overnight.

The others stay in barns equipped with curtains to block the wind and a padded platform to keep the animals off the ground.

"Make sure they have plenty of food because they will eat more in cold weather because they need the energy just to stay warm," said Klein. "Especially the animals that are outside."

Everyone at the farm will work most of the day to get the cows ready for the blast of arctic air that will come through the area, but it doesn't stop there. A lot of other chores are required.

"Every farmer's situation is very different. In our case, we know what equipment we have to watch.  The manure-cleaning system behind the cows, part of it is outside."

If those pipes freeze, that could cause a lot of problems.

At the end of the day, Klein said he wants three things to happen.

"I always say in cold weather, in really cold weather, it's a good day on a farm, on a cold day, when you got the cows milked twice, you've got the feed down, and you've got the manure out. That's a good day, if nothing broke," he said.

Then, Klein said, he can have a peaceful night knowing his herd is warm.

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Allentown, PA 18102




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