David Trowbridge, president of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, says the breeds of cattle raised in Iowa are “built” for cold weather environments. But, they still need plenty of attention to survive sub-zero conditions.
“They’re adequately able to handle the weather as long as you can keep fresh feed, fresh water and bedding…a comfortable place for them to lay down,” Trowbridge says. Another challenge is helping cattle maintain their footing by keeping their pens free of frozen material or chunks.
“Probably the most important thing in the wintertime is keeping the lots smooth enough that the ground isn’t rough,” Trowbridge says. “That might involve muck scrapers to scrape the pens…so they have smooth access to feed and water.”
Trowbridge oversees a 7,000 head cattle lot near Tabor in southwest Iowa’s Fremont County. According to the Iowa Beef Industry Council, there are more than 3.8 million cows on farms across the state. Iowa is ranked 9th in the country in terms of beef cow production and 12th in dairy cows.