A new crop of calves
With spring comes calving season, and while some producers haven't started yet, others say it's been going well compared to last year.
Only one calf has been lost so far in the season at the Dickinson Research Extension Center Ranch Headquarters near Manning, said Ranch Manager Garry Ottmar, Friday.
"That is a lot better than last year," Ottmar said. "We started calving Feb. 22 and early on it was cold, but as we got into March, things kind of moderated a week, week and a half ago. It's getting better and better every day."
Ottmar said the ranch is seeing more than one calf born a day, with seven born Friday.
"We'll get quite a few here, these next three, four days," he said. "I think there will be about 290 head that we'll be calving out.
"They (calves) did come early this year by about 10 days, but they are still very healthy and aggressive."
Ottmar said he hopes the weather won't warm up too quickly, so the water and muck stays down to a minimum.
To help producers stay aware of conditions which could harm newborn livestock, the National Weather Service in Bismarck has gone online with a new service, dubbed "Cold Advisory for Newborn Livestock."
The advisory was launched earlier this month, said John Paul Martin, warning coordination meteorologist with National Weather Service in Bismarck.
Martin said the advisory takes into account a lot of meteorological parameters, including: Temperature, wind speed, relative humidity, whether or not it's sunny or cloudy and whether or not there is precipitation falling.
"Historically what a producer would have to look at all of those things and figure out what the risk is," Martin said. "What we're trying to do here is combine all of those different elements, combine them, run them through this flow chart and come up with a risk."
The ranges go from "none" for no risk to "extreme" for rare and particularly dangerous situations.
Images on the site are valid for a six-hour time period, out to 36 hours, and shows the southwestern portion of the state. The images are updated at least twice daily, usually at 5 a.m. and again at 5 p.m., according to NWS information.
Martin said the advisory is an experimental product, and if the NWS receives good feedback from the public, it will continue next year.
The public is invited to give feedback on the product in a survey, which is located at a link at the bottom of the page, Martin said.
To access the information, which will be updated until early June, visit: www.weather.gov/bis, look at the left-hand menu, click "other useful links" under additional info. The item is located under "forecasts."
Beach cattle producer Donnie Feiring said he expects calves around April 1, and said he's happy to see the sun shining and the snow melting.
Between himself and his father-in-law, Feiring said he expects about 500 calves.
"We're hoping for 60 degrees and sunshine," he said.