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Jeruba's avatar

How do farmers adjust to daylight savings time?

Asked by Jeruba (47753points) March 9th, 2009

For urban and suburban folk who live by the clock, the spring and fall changing of the clocks results in a jolting shift of an hour in our daily routines (easier in the fall than in the spring).

For those more in tune with natural rhythms—seasons, livestock, crops—does it make any difference? Do dairy farmers get up an hour early and face a bunch of sleepy cows all moaning “What are you doing here? It’s not time yet.”? Do they adjust incrementally, like ten minutes a day, so as not to confuse the goats and chickens? Or do they just follow the sun all year round?

Kind of feeling it today and wondering how it is for other folks.

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15 Answers

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Where’ve you been? Farmers have computers now. They even have the Internet. They have had radio and TV for as long as everyone else, and the banks open and close the same time for them as they do for everyone else.

I don’t think they really listen for the rooster crowing in the morning either. Got a nickel that says they have alarm clocks.

asmonet's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex: Just because most farmers adapted to newer technologies for ease does not mean all of them embraced everything. Some farmers may indeed prefer to follow more natural rhythms.

I would think they just followed the sun if that was the case, as the sun doesn’t spring forward or fall back, it would make more sense.

Jeruba's avatar

Well, I suppose my question invited a dumb answer. I didn’t think the cows used alarm clocks or went on the Internet, but on second thought, I do think I can recognize some geese and swine online, as well as lambs and chicks, so maybe I was wrong about that too.

Darwin's avatar

They could be like Arizona and Hawaii and just skip the whole thing. Just remind yourself that the bank has new hours and then just keep on doing what you are doing.

Personally down here in Southern Texas I would prefer that we simply stay on DST all year round. Evenings tend to be a good time to do outside work here for those of us with jobs and families, and an extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day is a good thing.

I notice our dogs and cats are supremely puzzled by the sudden change in our daily rhythms. It would be nicer not to bother them with it. Also, my bipolar son does not cope well with change so I always dread the days just after the change.

mangeons's avatar

It would be harder for them, they have their internal clocks set already. It would probably take many days of getting up an hour early and then slapping themselves on the forehead before they adjust. :)

Mr_M's avatar

It’s all up to the Rooster. If he remembers to change his clock, the farm has no problems.

Jeruba's avatar

My question was really about changing the rhythms of the animals. Does the farmer start an hour earlier because the clocks changed, or hold to the regular schedule for feeding and milking and so on, or does he adjust the animals gradually over, say, a week’s time, or does the adjustment take place smoothly all year round as the start of day changes? That’s what I was asking.

wundayatta's avatar

Apparently, the main problem is for dairy farmers, who have to switch the times they milk the cows. This being a real pain in the ass, because cows don’t really know from time. They do know when they are supposed to be milked. Now why do farmers have to switch times for milking? Because pick up and delivery times for the milk have moved. You can’t keep the trucks a-waitin. One farmer moves the milking time by only half an hour. I guess he splits the difference or something.

Other farmers change the whole hour at once, which seems to make the cows fairly pissed off. Cecil Adams of Straight Dope thinks this is nonsense, and that farmers could milk cows at the same time, while refrigerating the milk. I think Cecil doesn’t know how much milk would need to be refrigerated on the farm. The whole point of DST is to save energy, and having two cooling systems (one on farm and one at the factory) wouldn’t save a lot of energy.

Jeruba's avatar

Now, that’s exactly what I wanted to know. I asked about the cows in particular because I figured their internal clocks would be pretty regular. Thanks, @daloon.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I don’t know about the animals, but for me, it’s been hell. These last two mornings have really screwed with my internal clock. I hate it.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@daloon is absolutely correct.

SeventhSense's avatar

The animals are are completely in rythm with the light. All life revolves around the sun.

VS's avatar

@Jeruba – geese and swine on-line! hehe

I happen to be one of those peeps who likes DST. I work full-time and I like to garden and have other outside activities I enjoy, so DST makes that possible. I tend to hibernate in the colder months (well, what passes for cold in sunny South Carolina!), but come March, I like to be outside until dark-thirty. Even if that activity is just catching some hammock time, I like it to be daylight.
I’m betting the farmers could care less. And while they may own alarm clocks, I bet most of them never have to depend on one. cows are another story

SeventhSense's avatar

@VS
Yes me too. The older I get the more I think I may suffer from S.A.D.(Seasonal Affectation Disorder. I’m like a bear in winter. I think I want to live near the equator.

Darwin's avatar

DST is great. I would like to simply stay on it all the time.

It’s the Spring forward, Fall back business that sucks.

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