It's November in Georgia and we're starting to prepare for winter . . . even though it's still 80°F outside.
Winter in Georgia is a lot different than other parts of the country due in part to the humidity. There are certain parts of the winter where temperatures will get well below freezing. Due to the humidity, we must take certain measures to care for our animals. This includes but is not limited to breaking up ice in water troughs, checking fences, and making sure pipes don't burst.
Many people think that Georgia does not have harsh winters, but because of the humidity, our winters seem just as fierce. Within the last few years, we've had at least three extremely bad ice storms. These storms have put us out of power for days at a time, which means we need to use generators to power the dairy. We had to have around-the-clock help to ensure fences are not down and to make sure the cows get the vital nutrients they need.
Our team at Hillcrest Farm has pulled together without a second thought to ensure all animal needs are met during these harsh times. For example, during one storm, everyone employed at our farm had to work together and deviate from the normal work shifts. We all had to keep eyes on the close-up dry cows. For some reason, during a freeze, they all decide to calve. It's not convenient but they still must be cared for.
In preparation for the winter months ahead, we're beginning to insulate all piping outside and, most importantly, the trough piping. We're also providing extra bedding for our calves and jackets to our newborns. We do everything we possibly can to ensure all winter preparation is done and ready for anything that comes our way.
Mark and Caitlin Rodgers are dairy farmers in Dearing, Georgia. Their “Father and Daughter Dairy Together” column appears every other Thursday on HD Notebook. The Rodgers have a 400-cow dairy that averages 32,000 pounds of milk. Follow their family farm on Facebook at Hillcrest Farms Inc.