A closer look at winter: By the numbers
By CARLETA WEYRICH
According to the National Weather Service climate records for Cincinnati area:
• Every day in January has set a record high of 61ºF or above sometime between 1876 and 2008.
• Record highs in February range from 66ºF to 76ºF.
• Forty-eight percent of the days in March hold record highs above 80ºF.
• For the past two years, the greatest snow and ice depth was 5 inches in January, 2011.
• The average greatest depth of snow and ice for the past 15 Januaries is 3.6 inches.
• The average greatest depth of snow and ice for the past 15 Februaries is 4.4 inches.
• The average greatest depth of snow and ice for the past 15 Marches is 1.8 inches.
• On the other hand — All 31 days of January have had record lows in the negative digits sometime between 1875 and 2004.
• Mid-January temperatures dropped to –21ºF, –24ºF and –25ºF respectively on three nights in a row in 1977.
• Only two days in February, Feb. 28 and 29, do not have record lows zero degrees or below.
• Sub-zero temperatures came as late as March 5 in 1978.
• Twice in the Januaries of the first decade of the 21st century more than half a foot of snow and ice covered the ground.
• In February 2010, 15 inches of snow and ice covered the ground.
• In March 2008, 11 inches of snow and ice covered the ground.
From Clif Little and Stephen Boyles of OSU Extension:
• A 1,000 pound cow nursing a calf and producing 20 pounds of milk a day requires 20.6 pounds of dry matter, 2.5 pounds of crude protein and 13.8 pounds of total digestible nutrients per day.
• Proper decision making for reducing winter feed cost includes:
• Identifying the nutrient composition of available feeds;
• Maintaining adequate body condition score (1 = thin, 9 = fat) and growth rate of reproductive females;
• Supplementing according to the proper nutrient balance needed for groups of livestock;
• Culling nonproductive animals prior to winter;
• Strategically deworming and delousing cattle to avoid losing cheap gains on pasture.
From Tracy Turner and Rory Lewandowski of OSU Extension:
• Animals have a thermoneutral zone — a temperature range in which the animal is most comfortable, not under any temperature stress, and that is considered optimum for body maintenance, health and animal performance.
• When livestock experience cold stress below the lower boundary of their thermoneutral zone, they reach lower critical temperature (LCT) and the animal’s metabolism must increase in order for it to keep warm.
• LCT is influenced by an animal’s size, age, breed, nutrition, housing conditions and hair coat or wool thickness.
• The LCT for beef cattle is 32 degrees in winter and 18 degrees in heavy winter.
• For goats, LCT is generally considered 32 degrees, and for sheep, 50 degrees.
• Generally, energy intake must increase by 1 percent for each degree of cold below the LCT.