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Western South Dakota rancher sees snow as a relief despite calving

Western South Dakota rancher Josh Geigle is grateful for a couple of wet, snowy days despite being about halfway through calving.

“I would say the precipitation is about equivalent to twenty-hundredths [of an inch] of rain each time and we’ve received that about three times in the last ten days,” Geigle told Brownfield Ag News. “It’s not a lot, but it’s a very welcome sight, for sure.”

A couple of weeks ago, 70-to-80-degree days with 30 to 40 mile-per-hour wind elevated the fire danger for Geigle and his neighbors. The precipitation and much cooler temperatures have reduced the fire risk. Geigle feels prepared to have calves born in these conditions.

“We have a good, wooded draw in our calving pasture that we can get the cattle in out of the wind and bed them with hay,” said Geigle, who ranches just north of South Dakota’s Badlands, “and they seem to do well in there during the wet, cool days like we had the last two days.”

It still makes for some long days. Geigle is out at first light to check on calves born overnight and to see that they’re doing alright. That’s followed by return trips during the day and a final check just before dark.

“So far that’s been going good,” he said, adding, “it becomes 12 to 13-hour days pretty easy.”


AUDIO: Josh Geigle

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