Ranchers prepared for winter weather - KOTA Territory News

Ranchers prepared for winter weather

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Northeast Wyoming ranchers are dealing with heavy snowfall for the first time since early October. Of course they didn't have to deal with the snow for as long as their colleagues in South Dakota back then.

"I think it's an eye opener for all of the livestock producers that this could happen to us also. Is there anything I could do different with my operations?" said Scott Hininger with the University of Wyoming Sheridan County Extension Office.

Will Ferguson works on Eatons' Ranch in Sheridan County, which has nearly 200 cattle. He didn't have to deal with the kind of cold weather South Dakota did in October, but the blizzard helped prepare him and other ranchers for this first snow of December.

"We definitely got all our outside work done in the last couple days while it was still nice. We moved our cows this last Saturday back over here, closer to the main place," said Ferguson.

A lot of ranchers aren't as worried as they were back in October, because now their cows are much better suited to take on this much snow.

"The calves are weaned off the cows. Basically, all you're taking care of is your cows. They've got their winter hair. They're in better pastures," said Ferguson.

"The hair condition of the cattle is a lot thicker. So they're able to now withstand more cold weather," said Hininger.

But that doesn't mean you can't ease up on feeding them.

"When you have this cold weather, then their requirements are a lot higher for nutrients," said Hininger.

"The biggest thing for us this morning was checking water, feeding the replacement heifers," said Ferguson.

Hininger also says it's important ranchers make sure water sources don't freeze up and to watch out for drifting snow.

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