Keeping cattle safe in muddy conditions

Local News

LENNOX, S.D. (KELO) — Many farmers dealing with excessive rain and spring flooding are not only having to wait to plant crops, they’re also going to extreme lengths to keep their cattle safe and dry. 

Julaine Stratmeyer is utterly amazed by her cows.

“Well I see them they have some personality,” Julaine said.

She and her husband Dave have 78 head and most of them have names. This is Twister. 

Because of her age, she’s in a small, less muddy spot. The rest of the group is trudging through what’s become of their pasture.

“It’s very sad at times to see the cows struggling through the mud just to get somewhere to eat,” Julaine said.

“It’s been deep for them. We’ve had to move bunks out further and further in the grass and it’s ruining our grass but we just have to do what we have to do,” Dave said. 

Dave says they have faith things will get better. Flooding from March and spring rains are to blame. 

Julaine: It takes a toll on them.
Matt Holsen: Why is it so heartbreaking?
Julaine: Because I love my cows. You want to see them?

Remember Twister? She gave birth to twins the day after our visit. Unfortunately, Julaine says cows udders can get so muddy in their normal holding area, calves can’t eat. They’ve even had to use a skid-steer to lift collapsed cows to feeding troughs. 

“I don’t like to see them plowing through the mud and standing in the rain trying to have their calves and there’s not a dry spot for the calves to lay down. Everybody who’s in the barn has had a problem and we’ve had to put them in and try to keep them. Either the calves wouldn’t nurse or it was the snowstorm or rotten weather,” Julaine said. 

A stretch of dry, warm weather is desperately needed. It will help the cattle and allow Dave to plant crops.That’s where the feed comes from along with corn for silage and corn stalks for bedding. 

“But we have faith that we trust God’s going to take care of it, like Dave said, it will work out. We’ll get what we need to and we’ll work around it. Our pasture doesn’t look very nice anymore and it’s probably going to look worse before it gets better,” Julaine said. 

In the meantime, they’ll enjoy the sun every chance they can get. 

You can hear more from the Stratmeyers in Monday’s Eye On KELOLAND. Monday’s story will focus on the difficult decisions farmers are facing when it comes to planting season. 

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