Modern conveniences help farmers fight cold

Sunday, January 26, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CST

PALMYRA — Modern conveniences are helping farmers through the cold weather, but that doesn't mean it's easy.

Temperatures in the Palmyra area of northeast Missouri have dipped below zero a few times this winter, and more frigid weather is expected next week. The forecast for Palmyra is a low of minus 2 degrees on Monday night, and a similar chill Tuesday.

Troy Disselhorst, who runs a cow-calf operation south of Palmyra, told the Quincy Herald-Whig that there was a time when tractors didn't have cabs. Now, tractors with heated cabs are commonplace.

"We would drive from one farm to the other and set out hay, and you'd freeze on the way back," he said. "It's not quite as bad as it was 25 years ago. Technology has gone a long way."

Still, Disselhorst said raising cattle becomes more time-consuming in bitter cold weather.

"You have to keep a closer watch on them," he said. "A lot of people still chop ice on ponds to water their cattle. So you have to make sure when it's below zero, you have to chop ice every day or you have to make sure your heaters are working so the cattle all have water."

The most important thing in cold weather is to ensure the cattle have shelter and quality feed, Disselhorst said.

"You want to make sure there is a place they can get out of the wind because it bothers people, and animals are the same," he said.

The feed helps provide the cattle with needed energy — vital in cold weather.

"The colder it is, the more they've got to generate energy to produce heat to keep going," Disselhorst said.

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