Believe it or not winter is just around the corner. Now is the time to prepare your operation for what winter will bring.

“Are we ready?” This is a question Bart Hanson, of Amber Hills Ranch in Rupert, Idaho, asks himself every year. “Do I have enough bedding? Have I built up the places that were muddy last year and caused problems with ease of flow? What is the status of my lagoon? Is my equipment ready for colder nights? Are my buildings water tight and leak proof? What do we tackle first?”

Here are a few areas that need attention before winter arrives.

Calf comfort. Do you have enough bedding for calves and is it stored in a location that is easy to access?

Equipment. Is the equipment you use to spread straw and deliver it to the animals in good working order? Fix broken equipment now so that it is ready when needed. Also, make sure equipment is ready to weather cold winter nights.

Facilities. Are buildings water tight and leak proof? Make repairs now instead of when the wind is blowing and its below freezing. Making sure footings and walls are secure and that the fences and gates around these areas are in good working order.

Employees. When was the last time that you checked with your employees to make sure they have the right clothing and foot wear for the cold? If you provide some of these items, it’s time to gather them for this year. Hanson provides his employees with rain gear and a coverall service that is shared in cost.

“I have to say that nothing takes more of a toll on things than does winter,” says Hanson. “It seems like every year there is a water trough or fence post that can’t be fixed because the ground is frozen. And I say every year that I’m going to fix these problems in the summer so I don’t have to go through this again. Well, now is the time to do it!”

For more Calf & Heifer Tips from DCHA, click here.