Not Belly Deep In Mud

Inside Dakota Ag

It was a perfect day for a feedlot tour -- cold, windy and raining heavily.

Published on: June 22, 2011
It was a perfect day for the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association Feedlot Tour -- cold, windy and raining heavily. More than 4 inches of rain fell across southeast North Dakota during the tour.
But in a hoop barn we visited, it was warm, calm and dry. The cattle were comfortable. We were comfortable.

“This is the way to feed cattle,” said Kevin Schultz, of McLeod, N.D., who hosted a tour of the hoop barn that he and his brothers, Randy and Larry, built.

For years, the weather was dictating how they ran their cattle enterprise, Kevin said. They were changing the calving date because was it too wet and cold in early spring for the calves. They were pushing back weaning dates because the outdoor feedlots were a mess in the fall. They were selling backgrounded calves early because the outdoor feedlots were too muddy. They didn’t even think of trying to finish cattle themselves.

The Schultz brothers had built several new lots to get cattle out of the mud, but they couldn’t get away from the mud and the rain.

So last year, they put up a 42 x 546 foot hoop barn.

They backgrounded calves in it. They used it for a calving barn. On the day we visited, the first day of summer, they were finishing cull cows in the barn. In the future, they may finish cattle in it.

“Now, for the first time, we feel we can make decisions on how to run our cattle business based on the market and not the weather,” Kevin said.