Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version

January 1994


Published by University of Nebraska Extension EC 94-1766-X. Copyright © 1994 University of Nebraska – Lincoln.


Windbreaks play an important role in the protection of livestock, particularly in young animals and in areas with cold northerly winds during the winter and early spring. Properly placed windbreaks can provide benefits to feedlots, livestock pastures, and calving areas. Reducing wind speed in winter lowers animal stress, improves animal health, and increases feeding efficiency. Livestock windbreaks provide significant amounts of wildlife habitat, protect the working environment in and around the livestock area, and screen noise and odors associated with livestock operations.

Specific needs of animals dictate that special attention be given to access, snow storage, and drainage when planning a livestock windbreak. Each windbreak should be designed to meet the specific livestock operation. A well-thought-out and properly cared for windbreak protects livestock in both the winter and summer and will provide economic benefits to the landowner over the long term. The time spent on layout, site preparation, weed control, and replanting is paid back many times throughout the life of a windbreak.