Wet Weather Impacting Cattle


ST. ANTHONY — We all know the wet fall has had far-reaching impacts across North Dakota on crops, corn especially. While we eat a lot of that corn, so do cattle, so how has the quality of that corn impacted them?

North Dakota has a population of nearly a million cows and those cows need nutrients to stay healthy. But for many ranchers like Richard Tokach, the corn is either too wet or they can’t get it out of the ground.

“We had one guy tell us the other day that he’s six weeks behind when he normally weans because his pens were just too wet and too frozen. They have too much manure in them and he’s got no place to put his cows because his corn wasn’t off yet,” said rancher Richard Tokach.

He added that the quality of the hay is so poor, he and many ranchers have had to spend extra money to pump nutrients into the feed because a cow can starve to death from eating nutrient deficient hay.

“Make sure you’ve got a balanced ration, make sure you go back and get good feed analysis on your feed samples and have someone do a professional balance for you,” said Tokach.

Lisa Pederson is a Beef Quality Assurance Specialist with the NDSU extension and told KX News part of the problem has been the early start to winter.

“It takes a lot of energy to stay warm on a really cold day, plus our winters have been extended and so that has made it so our producers needed to feed cattle longer, so we have stared this year pretty short in feed supplies and hay supplies,” she said.

She added another growing problem is too much wet corn that grain elevators won’t accept.

“When we’re drying down that corn. We’re ending up with what we call light test weight corn, and they’re not going to take that product, and so what do you do with millions and millions of bushels of corn that are light test weight? Well livestock can eat that really well, but we don’t have enough livestock in our state to eat all of that crop,” said Pederson.

Both Tokach and Pederson told KX News the livestock market goes in cycles and things are down right now, but customers thankfully shouldn’t see any price impact when heading to the store.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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