Drought is Hitting Hard to Ranchers

With very little rain in the extended forecast, it’s safe to say not much relief is on the way for our firefighters or farmers.  

That dry weather outside is creating hardships for farmers and ranchers across the state.

It is only about 4 weeks into haying season and Roxy Voegele only has about 160 bails, compared to 700 from a normal year.

Roxy Voegele, Glen Ullin Rancher, says, “Grass wants to crumble apart.”

Back in April, she tested the water she gives to cattle and found it was high in Sulfer.

Prompting her to use well water, which is no easy task. 

To make it work, she created a system of hoses. Stretching about 600 feet. 

“Sent up a temporary water system so we don’t have to haul water everyday or twice a day. It was the best that we can do for now in a quick temp situation,” says Voegele.

With this drought, Roxy is hoping that she doesn’t get rid of any cattle.

“My cattle are not just cattle, they’re actually like my kids to me. When my kids are gone away at school or my husbands at work that’s who I have and I can’t imagine them not having them to feed every day or checking on them,” says Voegele. 

She hasn’t sold any cows, despite hearing from other ranchers who have had to sell half of their herds.  

Roxy is coming up with all the ideas she can to keep the cattle. 

Voegele says, “We’re using creep feeds to help the calves right now to keep the stress off the cows, and lessen the grass load, we’re supplementing to lick tubs, loose minerals, salt blocks. We’re trying anything we can.”

Despite all her ideas, mother nature still makes the rules.

 “I wake up everyday thinking maybe today is the day where we get a little shower and things will start turning around. Things are pretty much shot now for the year,” says Voegele. 

It’s hard to believe, but according to Roxy, she’s had it worse. 

She recalls a 7 year drought her parents dealt with. 

Now, she’s looking to them for advice on how to live through this one. 

She said there was a little drizzle this morning and was excited to see the rain, but the last measurable rain was nearly 3 weeks ago of about three tenths of an inch.

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