Montana Ag: Calving season can be difficult in winter - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Montana Ag: Calving season can be difficult in winter

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It’s calving season and the brutal winter is making it difficult for ranchers all over Montana.

Cliff Davis lives along Highway 89 near Fairfield and has ranched his entire life.

He gets up every morning before the sun rises to feed his 95 cows, no matter what the weather conditions are like.

“It’s a tough business when it’s cold," he said. "When you have extreme weather conditions, you have to be there a lot.”

During this calving season, he remains on high alert to make sure he doesn’t lose any calves.

“They usually don’t last for only about five or ten minutes until they just die. Hypothermia sets in,” Davis said. 

Each calf lost is tough too.

“That’s your income, and not only are you concerned about the little calf because babies are young animals, they’re kind of precious, they’re cute and all of that. If you lose 10 calves, that $10,000. That’s a pretty big hit," he said. 

While worrying about the weather is enough, there’s also the threat of predators if a cow leaves the heard to give birth.

Davis said losing some cattle is just part of the job.

“Most of us who have been doing this for all our lives, we know before the first calf is born that we’re going to lose a calf or two. It’s expected. It’s not wanted. It’s part of the game and this is quite a game we play here," he said.

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