Dairy farmers fend off effects of freezing cold

BOWNE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Dairy farmers don't get snow days.

SwissLane Dairy Farms near Alto said that some of its employees worked overnight, helping the livestock battle the brutal cold .

"Cows have to be milked. Cows have to be fed," said Annie Link, a fourth-generation dairy farmer.

When 24 Hour News 8 visited, the barns were barely visible through the blowing snow. It may not be ideal conditions, but it's the reality for the farm's staff and cattle.

"It's hard to even move when you have so many layers on," Link said.

She said staff may have more beef with the cold than the cattle.

"They actually made about 90 pounds of milk per cow … yesterday," Link told 24 Hour News 8. "So, they're telling us that they're happy."

With the whipping winds in these bone-chilling conditions, staff has added plastic curtains for up for wind control.

"We kind of batten down the hatches, put all the curtains down," she said.

Keeping the cows' water troughs unfrozen also poses challenges in the freezing weather.

The farm keeps the bovines moving to stay active. It's crucial, staff explained, because the animals get more food for extra warmth, so they need more exercise.

"The other thing that's the real challenge is the calves, the baby calves," Link said.

Link said the farm averages four new calves per day in its heated birthing center, which is another reason it has staff on site 24 hours a day.

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