How daylight saving time impacts farming

Our bodies adjust to those schedules, and when that schedule changes, it takes time to...
Our bodies adjust to those schedules, and when that schedule changes, it takes time to readjust. The same thing goes for animals.(KY3)
Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 5:06 AM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -Many of us work on a schedule. We get up and eat at certain times, and we have hours that we work. Our bodies adjust to those schedules, and it takes time to readjust when that schedule changes. The same thing goes for animals.

When Daylight Saving Time rolls around, that adjustment can be challenging for farmers. Let’s take a look at dairy farms. Every 12 hours, the cows line up at the barn waiting to be milked. When we spring forward on Sunday, it throws off the herd’s schedule. Farmers can slowly ease their herd into the time change, but it can take a few weeks to adjust, and that time shift can impact production.

“As their mammary glands fill up, that builds up pressure, and that gets uncomfortable for them,” said Associate Professor of Animal Science at Missouri State University Lacy Sukovaty. “But also, you know, on the physiology part, it can tell them how much milk to produce or not produce if they’re staying full longer. It doesn’t seem like an hour would have that big of an effect over a period of time. That could affect milk production when you’re talking about over a few 100 animals on some dairies or a few 1,000.″

A common misconception of Daylight Saving Time is that it was introduced to help farmers have more daylight time to harvest. It was actually introduced during World War I to decrease energy consumption. This inconvenience leads many agricultural groups to advocate doing away with the custom.

“In general, I think across agriculture, most people are going to agree that it would be better to do away with daylight savings time so that we don’t have these kinds of risks in everyone’s schedule that are happening twice a year,” said Sutovaty. “We’re not having to readjust our animal schedules twice a year.”

Congress is looking at doing away with daylight saving time, but we still have to set our clocks forward and lose an hour of sleep.

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