Livestock producers and feedlot operators are gearing up for around the clock work to keep cattle, especially cows and their newborn baby calves, safe as a major late winter storm enters the state.
"We started the cattle on storm rations yesterday (Wednesday) in anticipation of this," said Cap Proffitt, manager at Barton County Feeders at Ellinwood. Storm rations are lower in grain and higher in hay or fiber to help reduce the change that cattle will overfeed as a result of storm stress.
Crews worked yesterday to put chains on equipment, make sure all vehicles are fueled up and snow removal equipment is mounted and ready to go, Proffitt said.
"When it hits, we'll be working pretty much around the clock to keep the feed bunks open, the alleyways clear for feed trucks to move, and clean straw spread in all the pens, especially where we have newer cattle that are more vulnerable," he said.
Most producers are nearing the end of calving season, and that is a good thing, said Scarlett Hagins with the Kansas Livestock Association.
Those producers with cows still nearing calving spent most of Wednesday and Thursday getting ready for the storm.
"We have our most vulnerable cows up closer to the barn where we can get them inside if need be," said Hoisington farmer Dean Stoskopf. "The next few days will mean a lot of watching and being ready to respond to whatever happens."