Cattlemen suffer winter woes
Cattlemen are in survival mode these days as they battle wind, rain, snow, and mud to keep livestock fed and watered.
Sarah Stuchlik of rural Lost Springs was a city girl. She said the biggest challenge her husband, Monte, and sons Ross and Daniel face is anticipating what is coming weather-wise and being prepared for it.
“Even though you think you can, you can’t control this life because you can’t control the weather,” she said. “I’m finding it’s a 24-hour-a-day, seven days a week job, with basketball games thrown in once in a while.”
In addition to breaking ice in water tanks and feeding cattle, they now have the added chore of monitoring cows that started to calve last weekend. Ross gets up every hour at night to check for new calves. If he finds one, he carries it into a barn and places it under a heat lamp.
“You worry about the heat lamp causing a fire,” Sarah said.
She helps in whatever way she can. Whenever she is out driving their car or farm trucks, she makes sure the vehicles are full of fuel.
Her men don’t always appreciate everything she does or like how she does it.
“Several years ago, Daniel tried to show me how to cut ice,” she said. “He said I wasn’t doing it right.”
They work at keeping everything going smoothly.
Andy Carlson of Burdick got stuck in the mud with his feed wagon Sunday. The ground was wet and rutted before the cold came, and the wagon got stuck in a track. He walked to the house and called a neighbor, who pulled him out.
Another farmer has young cows that are calving. He lost two born during cold, windy nights. His cattle have a sheltered area, but the ground is very muddy, he said.
One day he was taking cattle to a sale when a tire blew out on his livestock trailer. He didn’t have the right tool to remove the tire and had to call the Herington sale barn to get someone to help.
Brunner Ranch at Lost Springs was in the midst of moving bulls around in stock trailers Monday. Kent Brunner said the roads were a mess.
One farmer was driving his four-wheeler in a cow lot, checking electric fence after a 3-inch snow, when a tire fell into a rut under the snow. He walked to the yard to get a tractor to pull it out.
A tire blew on his loader tractor one day and had to get fixed before he could finish his chores. Fluctuating temperatures and more moisture in the next two weeks will continue to provide winter challenges.
Last modified Jan. 23, 2019