Extreme cold spell brings stress for ranchers

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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP)- Spring may be approaching on the calendar, but it is out of sight and out of mind for Eric Hansen of the Hansen 77 Ranch.

Hansen said that the unrelenting cold we experienced in February and that is now seeping into March has been terribly tough on his cattle, and more specifically, his newborn calves.

Hansen's heifers began their calving season in early February, and are only about halfway done now. When calves are born in freezing temperatures and don't get a chance to warm up, Hansen and his hired men have to be on high alert to ensure their survival.

"It's been a lot of extra labor of watching them. They hit the ground and within an hour they're chill so you have to be out there with them day and night. Either before they hit the ground or right after they hit the ground and get them in some shelter and get them warmed up and dried off. It's taken a lot of extra labor and fortunately I've got a lot of good help this year," said Hansen.

Hansen also said he acknowledges that he could breed his cows and heifers at a different time of the year to calve in a warmer season. But the logistics of ranch operations require them to stick to the status quo to be able to feed calves over the summer on grass among other reasons.

The Hansen 77 Ranch has been in operation since 1877. After many years of bringing a new crop of calves into the world each winter, this year's just might turn out to be their toughest thanks to the bitter cold they're being welcomed by.

Read the original version of this article at www.knopnews2.com.