Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

December 1991


Published for Proceedings, The Range Beef Cow Symposium XII December 3, 4 & 5, 1991, Fort Collins, Colorado.


Taming blizzards, by reducing stress on range livestock and taking advantage of drift snow for stock water, can aid livestock production. This paper describes tools developed by the U.S. Forest Service while experimenting with practices to control wind and blowing snow.

Techniques for wind screening discussed here are (1) permanent livestock protection shelters, and (2) temporary, portable wind screens. Practices to control snow accumulation are discussed under the following broad objectives:

1. Preventing snowdrifts on roads, around buildings, corrals, or inside livestock shelters. Snow fences or shelterbelts are the most common methods. Buildings and shelters can be planned and located to avoid drifts in critical locations.

2. Accumulating snow in drifts as a water source. Snow fences or shelterbelts are the most effective methods, but excavated stock ponds can be designed to enhance drift formation as a source of water.

3. Retaining snow on the ground to recharge soil water or reduce snow transport downwind. Usual methods include leaving stubble or crop residue and managing vegetation to provide roughness to protect the snow cover from erosion. Grass barriers, tree rows, fences, or snow ridges also can be used for this purpose.

Our discussions of these subjects updates a review (Jairell and Schmidt 1989) of more detailed papers listed as references, available by sending your request to the mailing address given at the end of the paper.