Archive for  January 30th 2019

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ADEL, Iowa — Iowa farmers say the frigid temperatures does take a toll on them and their farm animals, but proper care makes all the difference.

Iowa cattle farmer Rod Collins said his family spent the day preparing for the temperatures to drop even further.

“The tractors have heat and we can get inside the shop here and get warmed up a little bit but you just have to deal with it,” Collins said.

While they are bundling up in layers, they are layering on the hay and food for about 150 cows on their farm.

“They take a lot more energy just to keep warm. And to keep that body temperature up, they have to have a lot more food just to keep them going,” Collins said.

He said it’s even more important to keep them out of the wind.

“They’ll huddle up. They’ll get next to one another. They’ve got lots of hair. We try to keep them clean. You know, the muddy weather that we had earlier, that makes them colder if they freeze mud on them or anything. So if we can keep cattle clean and in a dry place and out of the wind they can handle the mother nature pretty good,” Collins said.

Mike Telford, with Iowa Farm Animal Care, said a barn and plenty of food and water makes all the difference.

“And you could tell even with the cattle out here in the lot even as cold as it is with the sun going down, they were really pretty comfortable. They were enjoying their dinner so to speak and they were very social and moving around really good. So that goes to show you when you take care of them even in these extreme temperatures they will do fine,” Telford said.

If you have questions about farm animal care or are concerned about a group of farm animals you can call the Iowa Farm Animal Care helpline at 1-800-252-0577.

DES MOINES, Iowa — January has put Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) plow drivers through the ringer. “The last couple weeks have been pretty hard. The crews and staff in our garage have been working a lot of overtime hours,” said Iowa DOT Winter Operations Administrator Craig Bargfrede.

The snow fall totals may have eased up, but with winds as high as 30 mph Tuesday night, Bargfrede says plows continue full speed ahead because danger still exists. “We are seeing a lot of blowing and drifting because the last round of snow we got was light and fluffy snow that continues to blow around and kick around.”

That drifting snow ends up on Iowa highways and is now public enemy number one.  “If you are going too fast for the conditions and you hit that, it could cause you to lose control of your car and veer into the other lane,” said Bargfrede.

The DOT is not without a plan. Bargfrede said, “Drift busting is what they are doing. They’re taking care of those pillow drifts [and] trouble spot areas trying to make sure it is safe for the traveling public out there.”

On the long, dark, cold nights and early mornings, these “Drift Busters” operate, it is vital to keep your distance. “During these conditions we will kick up, naturally, a snow cloud around us so we reduce visibility even further,” said Bargfrede.

To help with visibility issues, this winter season is the first that all Iowa DOT trucks are equipped with three colors of lights: amber, white and blue. “Our amber lights are seen all the way around the truck but the blue and white are only rear facing, so when you see that lighting pattern, that means you are approaching a truck from the rear,” Bargfrede said.

It is tireless work for those who ask for patience as they plan to put winter’s wrath in our rear view mirrors. “Please have patience. The operators are trying to do the best job possible to create a safe environment for the traveling public,” said Bargfrede.