KEARNEY — The winter weather has been hard on cow-calf producers.
Dawson County Extension Educator Bruce Treffer said cow-calf producers already have experienced “pretty large” losses this winter because of the long period of extremely cold weather during calving season.
“They were not prepared for 40 degrees below normal for that length of time,” Treffer said.
The biggest current concern is the need to find dry ground. He said that will be easier for producers calving in the hills than those with cattle operations in the Platte Valley.
“Some people are just thinking of calving now,” Treffer said, explaining that some people still calve in January and February, while others are just now starting.
He estimated that overall calving may not be quite finished. “But that other half will go pretty fast,” he added.
Buffalo County Commissioner and farmer Ron Loeffelholz of rural Kearney said it’s “as bad or worse as a snowstorm” to calve in cold, wet weather.
“The baby calves take this (cold rain) worse than a good snowstorm because they get wet and cold clear through,” Loeffelholz said.
Loeffelholz is almost finished calving and said Wednesday morning that he already has 70 new calves. The newborns are warmed in a “hot box” in his calving barn. The other calves are bedded in his sheds and out-buildings.