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A rancher from Wilsall shares his thoughts on the calving season



Wilsall, Montana – “We just try to do the best we can so we can raise a great product so we can sell it, but right now, it’s mainly just trying to keep them alive!” David Shockey said.

The state’s ranchers have experienced difficulties throughout the calving seasons as a result of the late and severe winter snowfall.

“Mainly we’ve had a couple with pneumonia, just from getting cold and getting chilled,” Shockey said. “Trampling—mashing—because the cows are so close together, they all try to get in the windbreak at one time, then you get one cow that gets squished.”

David Shockey, whose family owns and operates the Muddy Creek Ranch in Wilsall, states that the current calving season is unlike any other that has occurred in the past.

“This year, March was one of our worst months,” Shockey said. “Usually, we try to calf the first week of March—that’s our big push!”

Shockey explains that the rationale for this decision is that they need to subject their calves to only one winter before they are processed. Shockey estimates that winter maintenance accounts for anything from 50 to 75 percent of the total costs associated with upkeep.

“With the amount of snow out in the pasture, we just can’t get them out yet,” Shockey said. “We’ve lost a couple, and then the calves that are here, they just aren’t as healthy as they were last year.”


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