SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Wind Chill Advisories have been issued for Friday on top of the already frigid cold. KELOLAND hasn’t seen a stretch of cold weather like this since the 80’s.
The bitter cold is tough on all of us, but especially hard on farm and ranchers, who have to care for their livestock.
This week’s bitterly cold weather, certainly, can make the hair on your back stand up, even if you’re a cow.
That’s why farmers, like Scott Knochenmus who lives northeast of Sioux Falls, have to pay extra attention to their cattle.
“Some of the main things we got to watch we’ve got to keep an eye on our waters to make sure they stay thawed out, that’s a really important part of an animal’s diet, just like humans,” Knockenmus said.
Unlike humans, cattle have incredibly tough skin and grow a fluffy, insulating coat of hair during the winter months to help keep them warm. Believe it or not, when you see frost on a cow’s back, we worry they’re freezing.
But it’s actually a good sign. Knockenmus says the frost doesn’t melt because they are so well insulated.
“It’s really not the cold that effects the animals, it’s more of the wind chill or what the wind is doing,” Knochenmus said.
If the wind chill is sub zero like it has been this week, Knochenmus moves his cattle inside with extra bedding or next to buildings so they can herd together to stay warm.
Knockenmus, who is a third generation farmer, has experienced this kind of cold weather before. He says besides water, feed and nutrition for the cattle are important too, to keep up their strength.
But for now, Knochenmus says if you don’t like these bitter cold temperatures, don’t have a cow.
“Try not to listen to Jay, too much, just get up and get going,” Knochenmus said.
A bigger concern for Knochenmus is calving season which, for him, starts in about two weeks.