Still a pile of snow to melt

The mice seemed to have a busy winter at the agricultural research station in Emo. I’m still trying to be sure they are gone for the summer, at least.
The station is quite an attraction for them, with seed and a slight bit of heat on for the winter.
The new seed for the upcoming year hasn’t started to arrive yet, though it seems hard to grasp that a month from now we could (should) be busy planting.
The earliest we’ve ever had seed in the ground here is April 22, but I don’t think we will beat that date this year as there’s still a tremendous amount of snow to go. The fields perhaps aren’t so deep, but there’s still quite a pile in the bush, ditches, and anywhere it has been pushed up.
I likely could argue the fact that it is not too deep in the field! Before coming back to work at the ag station last week, I walked around my fence where I keep my yearlings to ensure the electric fence was working. It was great when you could stay on top of the snow, but when you fell through, it was darn deep.
I managed to get around the two cattle yards, but need to make a visit to my chiropractor now.
• • •
Going back to work at the ag station was tough at the start, especially trying to organize when to get the chores all done in a few hours before and after work when you were used to having the entire day.
This year worked out well the way the dates fell to ease my way into it, however (just three days last week and four this week).
• • •
When talking with my friends, we all noticed the cows are really eating heavy now. The calves are growing and eating a fair amount, and the cows are milking heavy and really taking in hay.
They eagerly are awaiting that first mouthful of green grass—and you can’t blame them after eating dry old hay for the last six months.
• • •
I’ve been thinking of my other friends that are just calving right now. Most calve at this time year so they don’t have to bring them into the barn (they just calve out on the ground).
This year, however, they are contending with a fair amount of snow and cold night-time temperatures. I hope they don’t end up with too many frozen ears.
• • •
We also need to be thinking of our fellow farmers along the flood zones, where a good many of them will be calving now, as well. North Dakota ranks 17th among states in cattle production with two million head.
So far there only have been isolated reports of several hundred cattle deaths, but far greater losses could be in store based on flood years.
North Dakota lost 120,000 head of cattle in 1996-97, mainly because of severe April flooding followed by a blizzard. Currently they are predicting mainly calf losses, but the number still is significant as they are estimating 15,000-25,000 head lost.
And of course, swollen rivers also worry crop farmers, too. They are predicting at least a two-week delay in planting. Often if the delay is too long, it will mean a number of unplanted acres.
Sometimes we need to be reminded things always could be worse—we are in a pretty nice little pocket of the world.
• • •
A few of my Stratton cattle barn friends and I were lucky enough to be invited to share a special day with a new couple. We joined them on Saturday as they exchanged their vows.
We wish them the very best, hope they enjoy their wedding trip, and look forward to them being back for the first cattle sale of the season on April 25.

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