Cattle farmers fighting ice keeping watering holes open - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Cattle farmers fighting ice keeping watering holes open

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WSIL -- The cold weather takes a toll on many of us, but it really hits those that work out in it every day.

For cattle farmers, the cold weather adds an extra step to the daily routine.

"The number one issue we have to deal with is water, and keeping water to the cattle," said Jeff Beasley.

Keeping water open can prove to be a challenge when temperatures dip down in the single digits each night.

"The guys have been out chopping ice this morning on ponds where cattle are drinking out of that kind of water source," explained Beasley. "Here, where we have automatic water, we have to check them about twice daily." 

Automatic water troughs use county water, but even the lines will freeze. It all adds a lot more time to an already full day.

"We spend several more hours a day dealing with things like that we normally wouldn't have too," said Beasley.

Cattle simply can't do without water for very long. While it's needed to stay hydrated, it's also needed to eat. The feed is how the animals generate their warmth.

"They kind of learn what's going on real quick. They know when you pull up there and they hear that ice being chopped, they know that you're making the water available to them," explained Beasley.

The cold is hard on equipment. Especially when trying to get it going in the morning.

"Equipment is just more prone to have breakdowns with the stress of the cold," said Beasley. "We broke a hydraulic line on the loader the other day and had to get it fixed and some other things." 

It's not all bad though. Cattle thrive in the cold weather. They're healthier and it's easier to graze in compared to mud. 

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