How Do Commercial Farms Make It Through Winter?

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Farms have long been an essential part of human life, and are one of the first things which people started doing as societies began to form. They provide food, resources, and even things like clothing, covering a wide range of products with the plants and animals they produce. Of course, though, this all comes to a halt for a large portion of the year. When winter rolls around, farming becomes incredibly difficult, and not a lot of people have cracked this problem, yet. To meet demand, commercial farms have little choice but to work through the cold months, so this post will be showing you what they do to keep their farm running at this time of year.

Commercial Farms
Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Suwanon Wongsaphan

Shelter

In some parts of the world, leaving animals outside during winter would most likely result in their death. To get around this, shelters tend be used to keep the cows warm and dry during these times, and this is where they will stay for months on end. The same approach can also be taken with plants. The world’s largest flower growers are already using indoor growing systems, and the same sort of idea can be applied to food, too. As time goes on, you can expect to see more and more of your meals coming from places like this, especially as companies realize just how much more money they can make when they can grow all year round.

Food

A lot of farmers rely largely on their fields to feed their animals, with cows, sheep, and most of the other livestock you might keep being happy to chow down on grass. When the winter months roll around, though, there won’t be much grass available, and this will leave the animals going hungry. To get around this, special feeders can be installed in fields. Dispensing the right amount of food at the right times, machines like these are great for farmers who can’t spend all of their time wandering round to give out food. This is great when the animals need to maintain a specific diet.

Plants also need to get their food from somewhere, and this usually involves the ground. There are loads of products on the market to help with this, ranging from fertilizers to products which are actively marketed as food for plants, but using these will only be half of the battle. Along with adding nutrients, you have to make sure that there are already plenty there. Areas which can’t grow plants will usually recover after a couple of years, but you will only make it worse if you try to use it to early. Plants don’t need to be fed anywhere near as often or as much as animals, as they also use some other tricks to get filled up.

Light

A great example of one of these tricks comes in the form of photosynthesis. As a plant is exposed to the sun, it is able to soak up the UV rays, turning them into energy which it can use to help itself to grow. Without light, there are very few plants which will survive for long. To get around this, a lot of commercial farms have started using hydroponic growing methods, as this enables them to add all of the fake light they could possibly want. You can see Agron for info surrounding this area, but it will also be worth spending some time doing some research if you plan to grow food indoors.

Warmth

Both plants and animals alike are extremely sensitive to temperature changes. Take a group of cows, for example, as they will have a very similar tolerance to the cold as you do. Leaving them outside during winter is like torture, and even a barn isn’t always enough to keep them happy. To help with this, modern low-power patio heaters can provide a surprisingly good amount of warmth. Once a structure like a barn is warm, it will take a long time to cool down again, but you have to get it to the right position, first.

Plants also like to be fussy about the coldness they can tolerate. Most will simply die when they experience frost, and this is what clears most gardens towards the start of winter, making it worth looking for ways to keep them warm. As it is the soil which is most likely to freeze or cool down, this is where most indoor farmers will start on their path to winter warmth. Using heat mats which are designed to keep reptile enclosures warm, it’s possible to provide heat to a huge collection of plants, without risking fires or having to spend a small fortune at the same time.

Water

Water is one of life’s key components, and is something which neither plants or animals can live without, making it one of the more crucial parts of this job. Thankfully, winter tends to come with plenty of rain, and this gives you the chance to start collecting this resource for your animals and crops. By investing in large water containers, farmers are able to collect as much of it as they need, making winter far easier while also helping to do their part for the environment. Some farms will even have their own springs or ponds which can be used a water source.

Machinery

The machinery which is used in this sort of job is very important to consider. When winter rolls around, a lot of farms have a great chance to get their land ready for the next year, but working in the cold can be a very painful task. Nowadays, to help with this, most of the tools which a farmer uses will be accessible from the inside of their tractor’s cabin, giving them the chance to keep nice and warm while they roll around the fields. Machines will always make working in the cold a much more pleasant experience.

With all of this in mind, you should have a strong idea of what goes into the work which a modern farmer will be doing during winter. A lot of businesses like this have to rely on these times of year, using them to make extra money as times get tougher.

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