Winter Farm Prep Roundup: Tools & Machines To Gather & Prepare

Winter is coming, but there are plenty of autumn days left for getting the farm ready. That’s good news, because prepping for winter takes time and effort.

by J. Keeler Johnson
PHOTO: J. Keeler Johnson

Winter is coming, but there are plenty of autumn days left for getting ready. That’s good news, because prepping a farm for winter takes time and effort. Simply remembering all the steps can be a challenge in and of itself.

In preparation for the changing of the seasons (getting started early is always better!), we’ve compiled a roundup of tools to gather and tasks to tackle before winter sets in. While our checklist is by no means exhaustive (and can be adapted to suit your specific circumstances), our hope is to jumpstart your thought process so you can head into winter prepped and ready for anything.

Improve Tire Traction on Winter Vehicles

From farm trucks and tractors to ATVs and UTVs, vehicles used in snowy or icy conditions may need snow tires and/or tire chains to handle challenging ground. Maintaining proper tire pressure is important too—we’ve got all the details here.

Prepare Your Garden Tractor for Winter

Installing snow tires and tire chains might not be the only winter maintenance your farm vehicles need. Plan to keep your garden tractor running all winter long (perhaps to operate a snow plow or snow blower attachment)? You may need to add wheel weights and switch to using low-viscosity oil ideal for cold temperatures.

For more details, check out these five steps to prepare you garden tractor for winter.

Read more: You can plow snow with your lawn mower or ATV/UTV. 

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Make Sure Your Generator Is Ready for Action

Losing power during a winter storm is problematic for anyone, but on a farm, it can be especially challenging.

If you’re counting on a portable gasoline generator for power backup, make sure it’s ready for winter by following our handy seven-step checklist.

Don’t Forget about Fuel Stabilizers

If you’re putting away seasonal machines for winter, or stockpiling gasoline to last you through the winter, you should consider adding fuel stabilizers to the tanks or cans to make sure the gasoline doesn’t degrade before you can use it up.

Read more: Here are more details about using fuel stabilizers to maintain gas through the winter.

Get a Snow Sled for Hauling Supplies

A polyethylene snow sled is designed for use in snowy and icy conditions. With its low center of gravity, a snow sled can slide easily through tricky conditions without tipping over.

They’re perfect for hauling hay and supplies, as we’ve explained before.

Park Equipment in Thoughtful Locations

If you know you’ll need to use your hay wagon first thing in the spring, it doesn’t make sense to park it down in that low spot shaded by pine trees, where the snow doesn’t melt until April and the ground stays soggy through May.

Putting some thought into parking your equipment for winter can save you time and trouble in the spring.

Stockpile Flashlights

Depending on how far north you live, winter nights can be long and dark. It’s helpful have plenty of bright flashlights on hand so you can light up your work when needed.

Need some tips? We’ve got them here.

Choose the Right Winter Gloves

Stay warm, and you’ll stay productive. Warm winter gloves are critical for keeping out the winter cold and keeping you safe and productive.

But what type of gloves will work best for your winter needs? We have a few thoughts.

Mark Your Driveway for Winter Plowing

Think you know the path your driveway follows? Try finding it when it’s buried under a foot or more of snow and ice.

Keeping plows and snowblowers on the right path (when the path is hidden from view) is harder than you might think. Marking the edges of your driveway with visual indicators like T-posts can help you stay on track and avoid issues in the spring.

Read more: Check out these tips for marking your driveway for easy winter maneuvering.

Gather Tools for Dealing with Ice

Dealing with ice is one of the biggest challenges of winter. These five tools and items will help you defeat even the toughest (and slipperiest) patches of ice.

Have a Plan for Dealing with Snow

Are you prepared to keep your farm functioning if a storm drops 2 feet of snow? Have a plan for dealing with heavy snowfall, whether it involves a snow plow, a snow blower, some snow shovels or (most likely) a combination of the three.

A walk-behind snowblower should undergo annual maintenance before winter, while snow blower and snow plow attachments should be installed on an appropriate vehicle before the first storm hits.

Don’t Forget Rooftop Snow Removal

To limit the risk of roofs caving in from heavy snow loads during , it’s important to remove snow accumulation from the roofs of your farm buildings. A specialty tool might do the trick, or—in a pinch—an apple picker can make a difference.

Here’s hoping the winter of 2021-22 will be mild!

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