In honour of the new year and winter being set in, here are some fun facts about snow in agriculture!
Did you know? Snow is also known as the “poor man’s fertilizer”, providing up to 12 lbs of nitrogen per acre. Snow is also a good source of sulfur, and acts to keep the soil moist through the spring.
If you are winter grazing livestock, snow can be a great source of water for livestock (although additional water sources are needed for livestock close to gestation). Cattle and sheep will eat the snow as a water source as long as it is not crusted over, and won’t look for another water source.
Snow acts as a good insulator for forages and other crops over the winter. Farmers often leave strips when taking their last cut of hay to act as a windbreak and catch the snow better. This helps to prevent winter kill by maintaining the air layer between the snow and ground for longer, even with fluctuating temperatures throughout the winter.