While most humans get to stay indoors when the temperatures drop, certain livestock like cattle must be left to brave the elements, but according to one local farmer, the cold weather is not the worst thing in the world for cattle.
Tony Grote, owner of Grote Poultry and Beef Farms in Fort Jennings, has about 800 head of beef Holstein cattle to his name ranging from 300 for 1,500 pounds. Keeping those hundreds of Holsteins warm even in bitter cold temperatures is not a difficult thing thanks to modern technology.
“With the modern livestock facilities that we have today we can kind of manage the weather better than years ago,” said Grote. “We can kind of roll the curtains up, keep the wind off of them. We’ve got heaters in the waters. We bed them up really good so it’s all about management.
Grote says while the ideal outside temperature for Holsteins is about 30 degrees, they can be comfortable outside down to 10 below as long as they can block out the wind. The hazard comes when they are transporting cattle, and what the low temperatures can do to roads and trucks.
“We was actually going to sell a couple loads of fat cattle Wednesday and the trucking company decided [it was] too risky [to] take a chance on being on the road and breaking down with a load of cattle, just wouldn’t be good so we canceled that and hopefully tomorrow it will be more favorable conditions."
As far as the cows are concerned, Grote says the outside temperature would have to reach 30 below without windchill factored in before the cold becomes an issue. This is because their body temperatures, typically around 100 degrees or above, are so high.