Drawn-out winter adds extra stress to calving season


Mother Nature rarely cooperates with everyone perfectly, and some areas seem to get more fair treatment than others.

While Jocelyn Wasko, based in southwestern Saskatchewan, is always happy for some moisture, she says the drawn-out winter season happening now is making calving on her operation a bit tricky, to say the least.

The problem is that many operations who plan to calve throughout April and May often don’t have calving barns and expect to calve-out on native prairie grasses. As Wasko explains, for their operation — XTC Ranches in the Cypress Hills — they are ideally looking for “green grass and bare ground.”

“Right now we’re just kind of playing each day by ear hoping that warmer temperatures are coming, and some more bare ground comes,” she explains. (Story continues below interview)

Parts of the Prairies have seen some extreme cold for this time of year come along with snow, with overnight temps still falling to -30 degrees Celsius. The snow can cause problems, but the main issue is the cold temperatures, says Wasko.

(Jocelyn Wasko/Supplied)

“We were minus 30 two nights ago, we were at minus 20 last night. What are you supposed to do with that? You’re calving [mature] cows out on a second field, you’re not going to rip through them every three hours,” she says. “That’s just not what we’re set up to do. So if they’re born at night, you go out in the morning, and you hope something is alive. Our cows aren’t going full bore yet, so we’re thankful or that. But it’s any day now.

“We’re just staring down, looking out across the field…there’s so much snow. It’s definitely going to be something.”

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