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Calving season is off to a cold and wet start

Posted 4/06/11 (Wed)

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

Spring is here whether it feels like it or not. And in McKenzie County, with spring comes calving.
“Most producers have started calving,” says Calli Thorne, North Dakota State University Extension agent. “Some producers start later than others, but right now I would say that most producers in McKenzie County have some calves on the ground.”
According to Throne, the producers who are just getting started are probably glad that they started later because up until now, the weather has been less than favorable for calving.
“The most important thing when a calf is born is that it is dry,” adds Thorne. “The cold, wet conditions we’ve been seeing lately make that difficult. Calves just won’t make it if they are too cold, so there are a lot of calves going into barns, which makes the task of calving a lot more difficult.”
Area ranchers are working hard to keep close watch over their cattle in hopes of keeping their losses down.
“Unfortunately in weather like this, keeping the calves warm is just the first hurdle,” states Thorne. “Keeping the calves healthy is the second hurdle.”
According to Thorne, calf scours  is one of the biggest causes for loss to a producer, and unfortunately, the recent weather has made conditions ideal for calf scours.
“With the wet weather scours is a big concern,” says Thorne. “The best way to keep scours at bay is to keep the calves in the best possible conditions, and wet, muddy pastures are not ideal conditions. Scours can be detrimental to a calf, and it is very contagious, so once it’s out there, it’s hard to control.”
Like most people in the county, cattle producers are hoping for some warmer and drier weather soon.
“Right now, producers are just looking for new calves and hoping for warmer weather, because that is all they can do,” comments Thorne.