Ranchers prepare for another winter storm

Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 1:24 PM CST
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HETTINGER, N.D. – Ranchers are once again bracing themselves for another winter storm. This is the fourth big storm since April.

The spring storms hit many during calving but provided good moisture for the growing season.

Many producers reported excellent hay crops. But storms like this one are putting a big dent in the hay producers had put away for the winter.

Jacki Christman documents just about everything that happens on her ranch near Hettinger. She started the JC Farms Facebook page a few years ago, as a way to educate people about the daily work on a farm and ranch.

These days, her Facebook posts and videos are focused on cattle and storm preps.

“We think there’s going to be a lot of wind with it. And so, we decided we’re going to move all the cows back into lots just so we don’t have to drift cows,” Christman explained.

The Christman’s cattle have been grazing on corn and sunflower stock – they had hoped to hold off on supplementing with hay for a few more weeks.

“We weren’t really planning on haying them until after the first of the year so it kind of dampens our spirit a little, but it’s better than having to start in November,” Christman explained.

The good news: April’s blizzards led to a good hay crop.

“But then in July, we finished our first cutting and then the rain stopped and got hot, really really hot. So, we only got a second cutting on a little alfalfa,” she said.

Still, she says they’ll have enough hay to get through this storm, and hopefully for whatever else Mother Nature has up her sleeve.

Forecasts for this week’s storm are calling for a high moisture content for all the snow that does fall, which could lead to another good hay crop next year.