Ranchers decrease calving due to weather - KOTA Territory News

Ranchers decrease calving due to weather


With cows mooing, it's the sound of spring on the Snyder Ranch.  

"The mild weather is very beneficial for the calves, it's beneficial for the births, the warm days are what we need," said rancher Ken Snyder.

The warm, dry conditions may be ideal for calving but what about the rest of the year? For Snyder, it means a change of plan for his yearlings in order to save summer pasture.  

"We've already made a choice, sending some steers right directly to a feed yard – that we would have summer grazed," said Snyder.

In all, Snyder will decrease his herd by ten percent.  

"If you decrease cow numbers its like having a factory. And you cut your production in half.  So, your income is cut in half, he said.

Cutting the herd because of drought isn't a new thing for Snyder. He was forced to do the same in the early 2000s.  

"That's the nature of this business and it tends to boom and bust with moisture."  

The one bright spot is leftover hay. The Snyder's chose to hoard rather than sell when prices were good.  

"It's a compromise. You can either take the quick cash by selling the hay or keep it in the anticipation that it doesn't rain," said son Andrew Snyder.  

While they may plan for the worst. They're still hoping for the best.  

"We have April and May to go. So, we hope it rains,"  said Ken Snyder

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Rapid City, SD 57701

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