Frigid Temps Are Good For Farmland, Not Livestock - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Frigid Temps Are Good For Farmland, Not Livestock

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Growing season may be months away but the recent deep freeze is having an impact on farmers across the QCA right now. Turns out, the sub-zero temperatures are actually good for the ground.

Robb Ewoldt, a Scott County farmer, tells KWQC's Morgan Ottier that a deep freeze helps kill off insects and rodents that can be damaging to future crops.

"The colder this ground gets, the deeper the frost goes, the more of those bugs it'll kill and it'll help us out," Ewoldt said.

Also, the continuous process of farmland freezing, and subsequently thawing out, breaks up compaction underground.

"When it melts then it contracts and leaves air pockets and it loosens up the soil quite a bit." While below freezing temperatures may provide some benefits for farmland, Ewoldt said it's not as easy for livestock to handle.

In order to keep the cows warm, they're no longer eating corn stalk bales but long stem hay.

"It makes the cows chew a little bit longer and it takes a little bit more to digest," said Ewoldt, "it produces more heat for the cow and it helps them through these cold nights."

Also, for the safety of the livestock, they're being rationed one third more feed than what's typical.

"Normally, we feed them a ration that would maintain their body weight. When you get extreme temperatures like this, you have to up that ration."

Still, even though frigid temperatures can have a positive impact on the land, Ewoldt says farmers don't necessarily prefer it --

"The cows think it's miserable and I think it's miserable."