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Midwinter Reminders Can Prevent Spring Headaches

Take steps to protect your hay and grain through winter’s final weeks.

Between analyzing last year’s results and planning for the upcoming growing season, it sometimes can be tough to keep track of the present. But making time to manage and monitor those out-of-sight, out-of-mind aspects of your operation can pay off in time and dollars this spring.

Stored grain. As temperatures moderate — and fluctuate more widely — toward spring, it’s important to monitor your stored grain closely. Check bins every other week for signs of spoilage. Catching trouble early can minimize losses.

Moving grain. Will we have an early or late spring? Can your grain marketing afford a wait-and-see approach? If the spring thaw brings load limits to your farm-to-market roads, make sure you’ve delivered the grain you’re obligated to deliver. If you anticipate marketing grain on the cash market, make sure you move it before load limits take effect.

Hauling hay. If you ran out of time or field conditions or weather prevented moving hay home last fall, be sure to catch up before fields soften or load limits restrict your hay hauling. If spring thawing isn’t an issue in your part of the country, it’s still important to make sure you’ve moved bales off of fields before forages break dormancy.

Feeding hay. Winter is a critical season for livestock feeding. Artic blasts require ration adjustments to meet increased energy demands. Spring-calving cows need proper nutrition to maintain or improve body condition for milking ability and quicker breed back. Knowing the feed value of your hay can help you make better decisions. That, coupled with proper hay storage and feeding, can help you hold down winter-feeding expenses.

Stay prepared. Late-winter and early spring storms often catch us off guard. Hoping for winter’s end won’t make it happen. Winter preparedness can help keep you and your family, your livestock and your farm safe — even if the calendar says spring should be springing.

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