Preparing the farm for winter weather

Some people believe that once crops have been harvested in the fall, farmers can sit back and relax until the spring. However, there are a few things that farmers need to do after the harvest to prepare their farm for the winter months.

Making sure the farm is “winter ready” can be extremely beneficial. For instance, winterizing farm equipment can reduce start-up time in the spring, extend the life of the equipment and allow for a higher re-sale value.

Likewise, farmers also need to prepare their farm animals for the harsh winter months. Keeping animals safe, warm and well fed during the winter is essential to their health and well being. provides tips about how to winterize farm equipment and prepare farm animals for the winter.

Farm Equipment
  • Give all equipment an oil change to prevent corrosion. Change air filters and fuel filters. Completely fill gas tanks to prevent water from accumulating in the tank.
  • Lubricate the bearings and joints on equipment to maximize their lifespan.
  • Check the equipment’s antifreeze for the correct freezing temperatures. (The composition of fluid in the radiator should be 50 percent water and 50 percent antifreeze).
  • Enhance the life of the belts by reducing tension.
  • Minimize sidewall damage to tires by inflating them to the recommended pressure in the owner's manual.
  • Clean planters, combines, air seeders and drills.
  • Remove soil from tillage equipment. Follow with an application of rust-proof compound.
  • Store equipment in a protected building or shelter.
Farm Animals
  • Make sure pens are located in an area where animals will be protected from harsh winds.
  • Clean pen floors daily or design it in a way that it drains properly.
  • Add one solid wall to the pen if there isn't one already. This provides a windbreak.
  • Lay down extra bedding for animals. Straw, tree bark or wood shavings provide a soft surface to sleep on as well as additional insulation.
  • Feed your animals more than usual in the winter. Animals exposed to harsh winter weather need extra calories.
  • Check the water trough every day. The water supply should be designed in a way that prevents freezing in the liner.
  • Remove any icy buildup in or near the pen that could cause injury to the animals if they should fall on it.
  • Shovel or plow snow away from the pens. Never allow it to build up so much that the animals are trapped inside.
While some farmers may have harsher winter weather than others, it’s always best to be prepared for what Mother Nature dishes out sooner rather than later. It can save farmers time and money once the first signs of spring arrive.

Do you prepare your farm or home for the winter? What tasks do you make sure you have done before that first winter storm takes place?

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