KOTA Territory ranchers face weather challenges - KOTA Territory News

KOTA Territory ranchers face weather challenges

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Frigid temperatures make doing just about everything more difficult. And the cold temperatures only make the duties of ranchers harder and more time consuming.

Lincoln Smith ranches with his brother and father. "When it's cold it makes it pretty much everything harder,"  Smith said. "From feeding in the morning, starting tractors, taking care of your cattle, just kind of makes everything harder, it takes more time to do everything."

"We've been dealing with the fact of frozen water pipes and water lines that have broke and a lot of tractors that have gelled up," said producer Shelia Trask.

This cold spell came with some warning. And in December, giving producers a chance to winter their herd.  

"They winter them out, feed them high energy roughage and maybe even corn as it starts to get colder here and protein out for them," said Trask. "A lot of people have hay analysis done to see what's in their hay or grass,"  she said. 

Whether the challenge this time is feeding and watering livestock or firing up the tractor, cold weather cattle ranching is tough. But it's satisfying.  "Well yeah I enjoy ranching regardless but it's a little more fun when its above freezing," said Smith.

Producers are facing added challenges in this cold spell courtesy of the early October blizzard. Specifically, there are concerns about the livestock stress level and gaining weight.

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