Iowa livestock farmers manage subzero temperatures

Cold cows photo courtesy of

FARLEY, Iowa (AP) — Frigid temperatures are creating challenges for Iowa farmers who say animals can endure cold winter conditions but need extra attention to stay healthy and productive.

Iowa entered 2018 with subzero temperatures. The National Weather Service reported a Jan. 1 record temperature in Dubuque of 21 degrees below zero (-29 Celsius). And wind chills on the first two days of the year reached negative 30 degrees (-34 Celsius).

Dairy farmer Wayne Kramer tells the Telegraph Herald that his livestock needs to be partially protected from the frigid conditions. He says the cold weather can make cows uncomfortable and cut into productivity.

According to South Dakota State Uuniversity Extension Dairy Specialist Alvaro Garcia, lactating cows are at greatest risk in the cold weather. Lactating cows that are adequately fed should withstand cold conditions provided they are kept dry and not exposed directly to winds. Keep the housing area dry and free of manure and provide ample supply of dry clean bedding daily.

Livestock farmer Craig Recker says the wind poses a threat to his cattle. Recker uses corn stalk fodder for his cattle’s bedding, which he says helps them generate heat.