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Some Oliver County ranchers in calving season, farmers look towards Spring season

Published: Feb. 28, 2021 at 4:05 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The unseasonably warm weather has allowed for more time outdoors and those conditions are favorable for some ranchers already in calving season.

Calving season is moving smoothly at Justin Brown’s ranch.

I don’t get very much sleep, there’s quite a few nights where I’m running on maybe three hours of sleep which isn’t a solid three hours,” said Brown.

He took advantage of the unusually warm winter.

“I’m happy with it, there’s no extra snow banks. I’m not running tractors and snow blowers trying to do that plus feeding plus animal husbandry,” said Brown.

Justin caught up with Oliver County extension agent Rick Schmidt about the upcoming planting season.

“I’m going to put in maybe 40 or 50 this year,” explained Brown to Schmidt.

While the lack of moisture is making calving easier, Schmidt and Brown said it could cause problems when it’s time to put the cattle back out to pasture.

“If we are going to delay the turn out onto our pastures by two weeks, we need to have the feed resources to manage those cattle,” said Schmidt.

A water dugout Rick Schmidt rents is usually packed with snow. He recommends farmers and ranchers create a back up plan if the drought continues.

“It’s just a very unique year and we just need to understand how our resources are replenished,” said Schmidt.

Back at the Brown Ranch, Justin believes that the cattle market is trending upward and he’s excited to sort the next herd of heifers.

Justin is hopefully for good rainfall in the spring but stocked up on extra hay to feed his 300 head of cattle just in case.

Oliver County extension agent Rick Schmidt encourages farmers and ranchers to talk with their extension agent and develop a plan for this year.

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