Snow and ice weighing on an already struggling calf crop

It’s been a difficult — if not devastating — start to the year for many in the agricultural community. And just when areas of North America were finally seeing a respite, and what could possibly have been called spring-like conditions, we’re hit with another round of ice pellets, freezing rain, rain, and/or snow.

For ranchers, the relentless winter has meant giving up more than the already precious little sleep that comes with the calving season. It has meant bringing calves in to warm up in utility sink baths, in front of fireplaces, on heated garage floors, on floor mats in trucks. It has meant plowing snow, bedding daily, and hoping expectant moms will not choose an icy mud puddle to birth in over a warm, sheltered bedding pack. It has meant working hard, pulling long hours, and somehow never feeling like enough has been done.

Besides pulling together a few resources that might help (from pieces on orphan calves to tweets from others in similar situations), we wanted to give a shout-out to everyone who is struggling.

Tweets:

Heading out to bring the last group in for calving. If the thermostat could be bumped up a bit and fan down a bit it would be appreciated. pic.twitter.com/mVoKaO7wZt

— Duane Thompson (@teetwodmt_duane) April 16, 2018

Official @OntarioBeef #Calving18 weather report —

Current Conditions: character building.

Long-Term Forecast: significant risk of bulls not going out until September this year.

?? pic.twitter.com/vMAqY6WiLO

— Barstow (Jordan) (@barstowmiller) April 16, 2018

Bring it on #Alberta us farmers and ranchers can take anything you can throw at us!!! Good luck to all our fellow cattleman #calving18 @albertabeef @CanadianBeef pic.twitter.com/dUAyg223hn

— Devin Bruce Hogg (@DevilHogg) April 16, 2018

I’m thinking that this blizzard coming tonight thru Sunday may shorten the calf crop around the tri-state area…10-15” of snow and 50 mph gusts! Come on Mother Nature..some of these calves have only seen the sun 3 times and are a month old…#calving18

— Chad Johnson (@TheChadMovement) April 12, 2018

The kids are out playing in the snow. #calving18 pic.twitter.com/DeyqO6sLN9

— Scott Flavel (@scottflavel) April 11, 2018

If next winter is anything like this winter…. thinking I’m going to cross everything on a musk ox bull. Getting ridiculous! #calving18 but it’s #winter19. #january87th pic.twitter.com/P8g1PVxZxA

— Tyler Lind (@Lindsanity34) April 11, 2018

First calf arrived today…now if only spring would show up too! #calving18 #ithasbegun

— Jill Heemstra (@jill_heemstra) April 10, 2018

Mother Nature, I am not mad at you, I am disappointed…… we all know that is worse. #southdakotaweather #cattle #calving18

— johnny5 (@johnny5odde) April 8, 2018

This has been the longest January of all time #calving18 pic.twitter.com/nnqNNvxKxN

— Brandon Gruis (@Grubis33) April 8, 2018

One of those days where I wish we could push pause on the cows giving birth! We still have snow left and don’t need another 4 inches. This little guy was just born and I took him and his mother to the nice straw pack and calf shelter. #calving18 pic.twitter.com/AOwlj9CFyI

— Jason Frerichs (@jasonfrerichs) April 8, 2018

#calving18 Only way to see them is via blade tractor. 15cm new forecasted for tonight! Hold it in girls +10 for Monday! pic.twitter.com/DoAlMggaHm

— Cherie (@cheriecbarnes67) April 8, 2018

Am I the only one that has the barns filled up with problem cows before the storm even hits #calving18 #itsgoingtobealongcoupleofdays

— Joel Pazour (@burriedrod) April 12, 2018

If you or someone you know is struggling during this incredibly difficult calving season, please reach out to one of the following:

Canada Suicide Prevention Service (CSPS):

Phone: toll free 1-833-456-4566
Text:     45645
Chat: www.crisisservicescanada.ca

Your Local Crisis Centre (via the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention):

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