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How Winter Affects Agriculture


You might have seen videos of snow in Ruidoso recently on our social media. We love highlighting the weather in our region. Southeast New Mexico received snow in December and January. While we haven’t seen much white stuff on the ranch, freezing temperatures at night add new considerations when we go through our daily work and chores on the ranch.


Winter means new challenges that greatly differ from the struggles of heat waves. Of course, a cold snap doesn’t mean that work stops, or that we get to sleep late until it warms up! Frigid temperatures most often strike at night in our region, and they can lead to small issues like frozen water troughs that need to be broken up - or bigger issues like equipment not performing correctly due to the low temperatures. It’s even possible for silage to freeze, making it difficult to feed the cattle that rely on that food source. A late season freeze could also damage crops. Who knew winter had such an effect?


Luckily, there are some minor perks to the winter season for farmers and ranchers. The sub-freezing temperatures can easily kill harmful bacteria or insects. If this natural process didn’t occur, those damaging creepy-crawlies could still be out there. Snow can be good for certain crops to grow more fruitfully. And of course, those who appreciate the natural beauty of New Mexico will pray for lots of snow to land on our many ski resorts.


As temperatures eventually rise as spring arrives, we’ll likely be wishing winter a fond farewell. But be thankful for all the work put in during the winter, to make the other seasons a success.


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