Dairy farmers brace for incoming winter storm

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FULTON TOWNSHIP, Lancaster County, Pa. --- Lisa Graybeal, owner of Graywood Farms, says the greatest challenges of winter storms is making sure everything is prepared.

“It’s a hard enough job because you are outside, you’re exposed to the elements but when you don’t have things ready, it just makes it that much harder," said Graybeal.

As another round of winter storms approaches, work is done to make sure the animals are comfortable.

For calves, Graybeal said they have shelters to stay under.

Also, jackets to wear for additional warmth as the temperatures plummet.

Graybeal said when temperatures start to drop below 40 degrees is when they start to consider putting the jackets on the calves.

“It’s just another barrier, another thing that we can do to just keep them healthy and warm and protected during the real extreme weather," said Graybeal.

For the adult cattle inside the barns, curtains are brought down to block any blowing rain or snow.

It also keeps the cows covered against any dangerous chills.

“Cows prefer the cooler weather as long as they’re not exposed to the winds,” said Graybeal.

While the cows bunker down inside on dry bedding, Graybeal said a key is to make sure the cows have water.

For example, they keep hoses inside insulated cover while even using heat lamps to prevent the water from freezing.

Graybeal said they spent several days prior preparing their property for the wintry weekend.

The "bigger projects" will wait until the storm passes.

“We’ll probably just stick to what’s easy, get our chores done, make sure the animals are fed and keep it at that for real cold days," said Graybeal.

She said they will keep an eye on what precipitation falls during the weekend and deciding whether to plow out snow or find ways to dry the animals in rain.

In the case of heavy snow, Graybeal said they're prepared to help the township with plowing as to get their milk truck and feed tractors through.

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