It's all part of a days work this time of year for Hanrahan though. His cows need to be fed, and it doesn't matter what the thermometer reads or the weatherman says.
"You just plan that everything is going to take longer when it is cold. Usually, you run into something that won't start or needs attention," he said.
At Hanrahan's farm, preparation for winter starts months before the first snowflakes fall.
"It starts long before winter gets here. We pay attention to what we call the 'body condition' of the cow," he said. "That means the amount of fat and the shape they are in. We try to keep them in really good shape so they can handle what comes their way."
One of his tools is sorting the cows into different groups according to their body conditions and age. That way he can adjust the feed and prepare the cows, by adding weight, in October and November before the temperatures fall.
When cold weather floods into Iowa, Hanrahan said he adds more feed and opportunities for corn stalk grazing to help the cattle deal with the cold. During warmer months, one bale of hay per day is enough for the herd.
"When we started getting the snow, we upped that to two bales per day to give them the nutrition they needed," he said. "During the extreme cold over the last couple of days, we have given them two and a half bales a day."
His cattle convert the hay and cornstalks into energy as they graze. Terraces that are used throughout the year to prevent soil erosion also serve as windbreaks for the cattle and help with their comfort against the weather conditions.
"We are doing everything we can to make sure that they are getting what they need," he said.
Photos by Joseph L. Murphy