Fall calving obstacles with early record setting snowfall

STUTSMAN COUNTY, N.D. - As snow begins to thaw, some ranchers are counting their blessings after last week’s winter storm.

A Stutsman County rancher says the weather gave him a lot of anxiety and he tried to check on his cattle in the middle of the blizzard.

He decided not to and relied on faith.

Rancher Brian Amundson has pasture near Buchanan in Stutsman County and has done fall calving for the last 12 years.

That area was hit with more than a foot of snow

He says he prepared as best he could by putting out portable wind breaks, bedding and straw for his more than 200 cows and more than 150 calves.

Walking towards recovery after the storm.

"The cattle were really tired, weak, you know, a little bit from being so wet and saturated from snow and water. It's a big concern for the durations of storms. They actually inhale a lot of moisture within themselves and can cause some hypothermic issues," said Amundson.

He says the biggest struggle now will be sickness among the livestock.

Amundson wasn't able to check on his cattle for more than 48 hours because of road conditions.

"The worst thing you can do to a rancher is lock him up in his house to think about everything that possible could be happening," said Amundson.

But when he did, "Surprisingly enough we had five newborn calves that were born on the straw. At that time we didn't really know who the mother was but I guess I was just happy that they were alive and moving around," Said Amundson.

They only found one dead calf.

He says his focus now is keeping the ones who made it through the storm strong and healthy.

He says with how unpredictable Mother Nature can be, he asks people across the state to be patient with ranchers as they trail cattle home.