Q. Since the weather is getting so cold, are there precautions I should consider for my cows?
A. Low temperatures and the associated wind chills can be devastating to animals. It is essential that animals housed outdoors have access to natural or man-made windbreaks and a continuously available supply of water. In order to keep warm, the nutrient requirements of cattle increase during periods of extremely cold temperatures. In general, the temperature threshold below which a cow with a dry winter coat may need additional feed is about 32 degrees. Humidity and wind will affect nutrient requirements as well. As the temperature drops from 30 to 10 degrees, we would expect cows with a dry winter coat to need about 20 percent more energy in their diet. When the temperature drops from 30 degrees to minus-10 degrees, an increase in the energy requirement by 50 percent or more could be expected. Sometimes, in extreme weather, producers find it necessary to add an additional daily feeding to ensure cows have adequate nutrition. This is especially important for pregnant cows. If there is wind, rain or the cows’ coats are wet, this also increases the amount of feed the cows will need.
Q. What does curing potatoes mean?
A. Potatoes should be cured before being placed in long-term storage. Potatoes are cured by being held at 50 to 60 degrees and high humidity with good air flow for 10 to 14 days. This allows the skin to harden, healing cuts and bruises. Additionally, curing helps prevent the entry of soft rots and other decaying organisms into the potatoes.
Q. I planted some apple trees this fall. Should I be doing anything with them during the fall and winter?
A. In the fall, harvest the apples and clean debris and fallen apples. Do not fertilize, because it will slow the tree from going into dormancy for winter. Water them thoroughly so that the water in the soil provides a buffer around the roots to prevent cold damage.
Q. Does 4-H only offer Positive Youth Development through organized clubs?
A. Whereas organized clubs tend to be the most popular form of the delivery of our Positive Youth Development program, 4-H experiences can be taught many other ways. Through Special Interest/Short-term programing, 4-H overnight and day camps, school enrichment programs, individual mentoring and family learning, youth can experience the eight Essential Elements of 4-H.
To submit a question, call 509-735-3551.