Cattle producers welcome warm January weather

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 2:28 PM CST
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STEELE, N.D. (KFYR) - Temperatures in the 50s in January in North Dakota are pretty uncommon. Not many people are complaining though, including Steve and Tracey Koester who raise registered red angus near Steele.

This winter, Steve Koester can walk through his pasture to check on his cattle. There’s no snow to move and, so far, no subzero temperatures to cause problems.

“We have saved a lot of feed and fuel by not having to push snow. Our feed supplies have held up better this year,” said Steve.

The Koesters have about 200 calves to check on. Those calves were all born in the fall. The Koesters have been calving in the fall since the mid-90s.

“It was kind of an experiment,” Steve recalled.

Their schedule is opposite of most ranchers; the Koesters calve in August in September, breed in November and December and when most producers start calving in February and March, the Koesters are weaning calves.

“It works out better for us,” said Steve.

“We don’t have to deal with weather issues. We still tag and weigh them because they’re registered, but we pasture calve everything,” added Tracey.

While they know this warm weather may soon come to an end, they are grateful for the warm days they’ve had.

“The calves have done well, and we have a pretty good breed up on cows. On the farming side thought we would like to see a little snow to protect fall seeded crops. It’s always a trade out,” Steve said.

A trade out, that for now the Koesters are thankful for. As they prepare for their annual bull sale in March, they say getting the bulls ready is much easier when the weather is nice.

Steve says an old farmer once told him “winter is a good time to have a drought in North Dakota.” He says that holds true today, and he won’t start to worry about the lack of moisture until the spring. He’s says some nice rains this spring will put him in good shape.

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