PAOLI, Wis. - Wisconsin farms and Shakespeare rarely collide in the same sentence, but given the frigid conditions, this could be the "winter of our discontent."
"We got a calendar in our barn. We've been counting down the days until spring since last month, and I think it is 22 days until spring," said Cory Brown, a dairy farmer.
The subzero temperatures have made it challenging to keep water flowing through water lines to troughs for the 500 dairy cows Brown cares for. On more than a few occasions, they have used heaters to thaw ice in the lines to restore water for the cattle.
"Everything is a little more difficult when it is cold, and when it is really cold, like it has been, it makes for a very long day," Brown said.
In extreme cold conditions, cattle require more feed and providing them with a good water supply becomes increasingly important.
"Cows will drink a bathtub of water every single day, and in our barn we have about 500 cows in there, so that's 500 bathtubs of water," Brown said.
Keeping up with water that is constantly freezing and equipment prone to break in extreme cold has made this a very long winter.
"It gets old when you have to spend 10, 12, 14 hours outside every day," Brown said. "There have been a couple of days when you can hardly feel your fingers, you're worn out but you can't stop because we don't get breaks like that."
He said marking days off on that calendar until spring have helped to give him what he needs to get through this winter.
"You won't be a farmer if you don't have a good attitude," Brown said.
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