Candid Camera for Cows


It’s calving season for most ranchers in North Dakota.
And on some farms, the arrival of every new calf is captured on television.
Jim Olson reports on the high-tech method of calving – and how it’s helping save ranchers money.

(Blaine Bruner, McHenry County Rancher) “Things get pretty hectic when they start calving.”

The next generation of cattle is arriving on ranches across the region.

(Blaine Bruner, McHenry County Rancher) “C’mon little one…come on.”

Including this one born 12 hours before our camera arrived at the Bruner Angus Ranch near Drake. Calves have been taking first steps for about a month now at this family operation.

(Blaine Bruner, McHenry County Rancher) “The most calves we had in one day was 29. And of course, that was in about the coldest time we had.”

In past years, that could mean trouble for some of the youngest cattle – sometimes calves even died due to birthing or weather complications. But these cameras have changed that.

(Blaine Bruner, McHenry County Rancher) “We’ve got calving cameras in every pen and in every barn.”

Cameras also scan the outdoor pens – all viewable on phones or computers that Blaine Bruner and his three sons and their families monitor around the clock.

(Blaine Bruner, McHenry County Rancher) “If I’m sleeping and there’s a cow calving and it looks like it might be a problem, if one of the boys aren’t here then I get a call. So everybody’s watching.”
(Kim Bruner, McHenry County Rancher) “When you watch them on film you realize how many things you really didn’t know about calving that were going on in the barn. Every time you open the door, they do something out of character. Where if you’re just watching them in their natural state, you see a lot more things.”
(Blaine Bruner, McHenry County Rancher) “It sure beats getting up and going out every time. If you’re waiting for a cow to have a calf, rather than putting your boots on every half-hour, you can watch.”

The technology saves the frequent trips to the barns and, in just the second year of use by the Bruners, saves lives of calves.

(Blaine Bruner, McHenry County Rancher) “I know we’ve saved several calves, not only last year but also so far this year by the use of the cameras.”

And that can make a big difference in this operation. Near Drake, Jim Olson, KX News.

The death of a single calf can mean a thousand dollars or more in lost revenue for a rancher in our region.

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