If Snow Keeps Coming, Winter Could Get Really Ugly

Inside Dakota Ag

Rancher will start calving in February -- blizzard or not

Published on: February 2, 2009

Snow drifts towered over the pickups in the parking lot at the Ag Expo in Minot last week.


While riding the shuttle bus from the Four Season Arena, I talked to a farmer and cattleman from Karlsrude, N.D., about how tough the winter has been. Not only has the north central region gotten a lot of snow, the wind has been howling. Roads blow shut just hours after a plow goes through. Snow is piled up 8 to 10 feet high at intersections. Gravel roads are little more than a crooked lanes leading into a swind-tossed sea of white.  Some farmers don’t leave their farmsteads for fear they won’t be able to get back in for days.


“I’m riding my snowmobile in and out of the farm,” the man said. “I’ve put 400 miles and it’s only three miles to town.”


Fortunately, he bought a pay loader last year so he’s been able to push the snow out of the cattle yard. But he’s running out of room to pile two months of record or near-record snowfall. “I’m going to have to start hauling the snow out,” he said.


Calving is his next big concern. Cows are due to start calving Feb. 15.


If it snows as much in February as it did in December and January, the winter could get really ugly, he said.