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Cattle Farmers Prepare For Cold Winter Weather

BILLINGS, Mo. -- Farmers are used to working long days... But in the midst of the cold snowy forecast, cattle farmers have been putting in extra hours and money to gear up for the early wintry weather.
BILLINGS, Mo. -- If cows could speak, they would call free stalls a luxury.

"We've got 152 free stalls in here," said farmer Brad Groves of Groves View Farm in Billings. "It's for cows to come in and lay dont to get out of the weather."

Free stalls are one of the options for cattle to beat this weekend's forecast of  snow and bitter cold. But their survival and thrival ultimately lies in the hands of farmers.
For farmers like Groves, preparation began at 4 am Friday morning. There are about 500 cattle that reside at Groves View Farm. To ensure that the cows make it through the cold snap, groves has gone through his checklist-- adding extra bedding to keep temperatures warmer, additional feed to provide more energy for his cows to brave the cold, and checking his electric water heaters to prevent water from freezing.

"It heats the water," said Groves. "It'll never freeze."

And the littlest ones on the farm are given extra care in cold weather. Berta is one of the 60 calves on the farm. She's about 12 days old, and to keep warm, she has an insulated calf coat, plenty of bedding, and extra food.

The added care and preps for the bitter cold has tacked on additional costs for cattle farmers like Grove.

"I would say it has cost $1,000 to $1,500 extra this year in bedding," said Grove. "We went through four huge pallets of shaving already, and bought another four today."

And it's not only the money that farmers must take into consideration, but also the time.

"The biggest challenge is the time," said Grove. "It could take an extra two horus to do bedding and take care of them. A 12-hour day turns into a 15 hour day pretty quick."

But in the end, Grove said all the extra effort put into protecting his cattle is worth the sacrifice.

"You've got to be dedicated. They're what makes your livng," said Grove. "The more you take care of them, the more they're going to take care of you in the production."

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