Fowler family ranch: Early- or late-calving season decisions | TSLN.com

Fowler family ranch: Early- or late-calving season decisions

Courtesy photo/Ty and Melissa FowlerMelissa Fowler rides through a group of purchased heifers that were bred to calve the end of February through March. This experience reminded Ty and Melissa Fowler just why they calve later in the season. The heifers will be bred along with the May-calving group next year.

The northern plains aren’t known for temperate, easy winters. To live in the region, people, livestock and wildlife have to be pretty rugged and determined. Heavy snows, wind and subzero temperatures are the norm. Short periods of warmer days, sunshine and thawing turn up in January and February, sometimes melting snow with chinook winds from the west. Those days are often followed by below zero weather that drives livestock to the feed ground and protection. March generally has the most moisture for the year, the majority of which is in the form of snow. Winter tends to last well into March, with little regard for the calendar notion of when spring begins.

Cow-calf operators strive to raise every pound of beef possible with every calf in order to remain profitable. This has led ranchers to start calving earlier and earlier in an attempt to wean heavier calves. It’s plenty of work to calve in February and March. While it takes ample amounts of feed to keep cows milking and the calves growing, most believe that the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Others have headed in the opposite direction – calving later in the spring in an effort to avoid the most frigid weather and winter/spring storms. One such outfit is the Grubbing Hoe Ranch, which is comprised of ranches around the Redig, SD-area and one on the Moreau River at Hoover, SD. Owned and operated by the Fowler family, Leet and Maureen along with their son Ty and his wife Melissa and family, have been ranching in Harding County since the 1880s.

“We used to calve the heifers the tenth of March and the cows between the twentieth and twenty-fifth or so, but have gradually moved the heifers to the twenty-fifth of March and the cows to the tenth of April, with another later calving herd starting around the first of May,” Ty Fowler explains. “This was done because of a combination of tough spring calving weather, and feed and labor concerns.

“When we purchased the Junek Ranch in 2006, we had a portion of that ranch that was on the west side of Highway 85 and we didn’t want to be crossing the highway all the time, so we started the May calving herd because it fit that place. We only have to bring them across the highway once a year to ship the calves,” Ty says.

Flexibility is key for late calving seasons, as demonstrated on Fowler’s ranch. “There are up and down sides to everything. Late calving works for us because we have some flexibility. If calf prices are high in the fall, we sell calves; if they’re low, we run some of them over to yearlings,” Ty explains.

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The northern plains aren’t known for temperate, easy winters. To live in the region, people, livestock and wildlife have to be pretty rugged and determined. Heavy snows, wind and subzero temperatures are the norm. Short periods of warmer days, sunshine and thawing turn up in January and February, sometimes melting snow with chinook winds from the west. Those days are often followed by below zero weather that drives livestock to the feed ground and protection. March generally has the most moisture for the year, the majority of which is in the form of snow. Winter tends to last well into March, with little regard for the calendar notion of when spring begins.

Cow-calf operators strive to raise every pound of beef possible with every calf in order to remain profitable. This has led ranchers to start calving earlier and earlier in an attempt to wean heavier calves. It’s plenty of work to calve in February and March. While it takes ample amounts of feed to keep cows milking and the calves growing, most believe that the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Others have headed in the opposite direction – calving later in the spring in an effort to avoid the most frigid weather and winter/spring storms. One such outfit is the Grubbing Hoe Ranch, which is comprised of ranches around the Redig, SD-area and one on the Moreau River at Hoover, SD. Owned and operated by the Fowler family, Leet and Maureen along with their son Ty and his wife Melissa and family, have been ranching in Harding County since the 1880s.

“We used to calve the heifers the tenth of March and the cows between the twentieth and twenty-fifth or so, but have gradually moved the heifers to the twenty-fifth of March and the cows to the tenth of April, with another later calving herd starting around the first of May,” Ty Fowler explains. “This was done because of a combination of tough spring calving weather, and feed and labor concerns.

“When we purchased the Junek Ranch in 2006, we had a portion of that ranch that was on the west side of Highway 85 and we didn’t want to be crossing the highway all the time, so we started the May calving herd because it fit that place. We only have to bring them across the highway once a year to ship the calves,” Ty says.

Flexibility is key for late calving seasons, as demonstrated on Fowler’s ranch. “There are up and down sides to everything. Late calving works for us because we have some flexibility. If calf prices are high in the fall, we sell calves; if they’re low, we run some of them over to yearlings,” Ty explains.

The northern plains aren’t known for temperate, easy winters. To live in the region, people, livestock and wildlife have to be pretty rugged and determined. Heavy snows, wind and subzero temperatures are the norm. Short periods of warmer days, sunshine and thawing turn up in January and February, sometimes melting snow with chinook winds from the west. Those days are often followed by below zero weather that drives livestock to the feed ground and protection. March generally has the most moisture for the year, the majority of which is in the form of snow. Winter tends to last well into March, with little regard for the calendar notion of when spring begins.

Cow-calf operators strive to raise every pound of beef possible with every calf in order to remain profitable. This has led ranchers to start calving earlier and earlier in an attempt to wean heavier calves. It’s plenty of work to calve in February and March. While it takes ample amounts of feed to keep cows milking and the calves growing, most believe that the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Others have headed in the opposite direction – calving later in the spring in an effort to avoid the most frigid weather and winter/spring storms. One such outfit is the Grubbing Hoe Ranch, which is comprised of ranches around the Redig, SD-area and one on the Moreau River at Hoover, SD. Owned and operated by the Fowler family, Leet and Maureen along with their son Ty and his wife Melissa and family, have been ranching in Harding County since the 1880s.

“We used to calve the heifers the tenth of March and the cows between the twentieth and twenty-fifth or so, but have gradually moved the heifers to the twenty-fifth of March and the cows to the tenth of April, with another later calving herd starting around the first of May,” Ty Fowler explains. “This was done because of a combination of tough spring calving weather, and feed and labor concerns.

“When we purchased the Junek Ranch in 2006, we had a portion of that ranch that was on the west side of Highway 85 and we didn’t want to be crossing the highway all the time, so we started the May calving herd because it fit that place. We only have to bring them across the highway once a year to ship the calves,” Ty says.

Flexibility is key for late calving seasons, as demonstrated on Fowler’s ranch. “There are up and down sides to everything. Late calving works for us because we have some flexibility. If calf prices are high in the fall, we sell calves; if they’re low, we run some of them over to yearlings,” Ty explains.

The northern plains aren’t known for temperate, easy winters. To live in the region, people, livestock and wildlife have to be pretty rugged and determined. Heavy snows, wind and subzero temperatures are the norm. Short periods of warmer days, sunshine and thawing turn up in January and February, sometimes melting snow with chinook winds from the west. Those days are often followed by below zero weather that drives livestock to the feed ground and protection. March generally has the most moisture for the year, the majority of which is in the form of snow. Winter tends to last well into March, with little regard for the calendar notion of when spring begins.

Cow-calf operators strive to raise every pound of beef possible with every calf in order to remain profitable. This has led ranchers to start calving earlier and earlier in an attempt to wean heavier calves. It’s plenty of work to calve in February and March. While it takes ample amounts of feed to keep cows milking and the calves growing, most believe that the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Others have headed in the opposite direction – calving later in the spring in an effort to avoid the most frigid weather and winter/spring storms. One such outfit is the Grubbing Hoe Ranch, which is comprised of ranches around the Redig, SD-area and one on the Moreau River at Hoover, SD. Owned and operated by the Fowler family, Leet and Maureen along with their son Ty and his wife Melissa and family, have been ranching in Harding County since the 1880s.

“We used to calve the heifers the tenth of March and the cows between the twentieth and twenty-fifth or so, but have gradually moved the heifers to the twenty-fifth of March and the cows to the tenth of April, with another later calving herd starting around the first of May,” Ty Fowler explains. “This was done because of a combination of tough spring calving weather, and feed and labor concerns.

“When we purchased the Junek Ranch in 2006, we had a portion of that ranch that was on the west side of Highway 85 and we didn’t want to be crossing the highway all the time, so we started the May calving herd because it fit that place. We only have to bring them across the highway once a year to ship the calves,” Ty says.

Flexibility is key for late calving seasons, as demonstrated on Fowler’s ranch. “There are up and down sides to everything. Late calving works for us because we have some flexibility. If calf prices are high in the fall, we sell calves; if they’re low, we run some of them over to yearlings,” Ty explains.

The northern plains aren’t known for temperate, easy winters. To live in the region, people, livestock and wildlife have to be pretty rugged and determined. Heavy snows, wind and subzero temperatures are the norm. Short periods of warmer days, sunshine and thawing turn up in January and February, sometimes melting snow with chinook winds from the west. Those days are often followed by below zero weather that drives livestock to the feed ground and protection. March generally has the most moisture for the year, the majority of which is in the form of snow. Winter tends to last well into March, with little regard for the calendar notion of when spring begins.

Cow-calf operators strive to raise every pound of beef possible with every calf in order to remain profitable. This has led ranchers to start calving earlier and earlier in an attempt to wean heavier calves. It’s plenty of work to calve in February and March. While it takes ample amounts of feed to keep cows milking and the calves growing, most believe that the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Others have headed in the opposite direction – calving later in the spring in an effort to avoid the most frigid weather and winter/spring storms. One such outfit is the Grubbing Hoe Ranch, which is comprised of ranches around the Redig, SD-area and one on the Moreau River at Hoover, SD. Owned and operated by the Fowler family, Leet and Maureen along with their son Ty and his wife Melissa and family, have been ranching in Harding County since the 1880s.

“We used to calve the heifers the tenth of March and the cows between the twentieth and twenty-fifth or so, but have gradually moved the heifers to the twenty-fifth of March and the cows to the tenth of April, with another later calving herd starting around the first of May,” Ty Fowler explains. “This was done because of a combination of tough spring calving weather, and feed and labor concerns.

“When we purchased the Junek Ranch in 2006, we had a portion of that ranch that was on the west side of Highway 85 and we didn’t want to be crossing the highway all the time, so we started the May calving herd because it fit that place. We only have to bring them across the highway once a year to ship the calves,” Ty says.

Flexibility is key for late calving seasons, as demonstrated on Fowler’s ranch. “There are up and down sides to everything. Late calving works for us because we have some flexibility. If calf prices are high in the fall, we sell calves; if they’re low, we run some of them over to yearlings,” Ty explains.

The northern plains aren’t known for temperate, easy winters. To live in the region, people, livestock and wildlife have to be pretty rugged and determined. Heavy snows, wind and subzero temperatures are the norm. Short periods of warmer days, sunshine and thawing turn up in January and February, sometimes melting snow with chinook winds from the west. Those days are often followed by below zero weather that drives livestock to the feed ground and protection. March generally has the most moisture for the year, the majority of which is in the form of snow. Winter tends to last well into March, with little regard for the calendar notion of when spring begins.

Cow-calf operators strive to raise every pound of beef possible with every calf in order to remain profitable. This has led ranchers to start calving earlier and earlier in an attempt to wean heavier calves. It’s plenty of work to calve in February and March. While it takes ample amounts of feed to keep cows milking and the calves growing, most believe that the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Others have headed in the opposite direction – calving later in the spring in an effort to avoid the most frigid weather and winter/spring storms. One such outfit is the Grubbing Hoe Ranch, which is comprised of ranches around the Redig, SD-area and one on the Moreau River at Hoover, SD. Owned and operated by the Fowler family, Leet and Maureen along with their son Ty and his wife Melissa and family, have been ranching in Harding County since the 1880s.

“We used to calve the heifers the tenth of March and the cows between the twentieth and twenty-fifth or so, but have gradually moved the heifers to the twenty-fifth of March and the cows to the tenth of April, with another later calving herd starting around the first of May,” Ty Fowler explains. “This was done because of a combination of tough spring calving weather, and feed and labor concerns.

“When we purchased the Junek Ranch in 2006, we had a portion of that ranch that was on the west side of Highway 85 and we didn’t want to be crossing the highway all the time, so we started the May calving herd because it fit that place. We only have to bring them across the highway once a year to ship the calves,” Ty says.

Flexibility is key for late calving seasons, as demonstrated on Fowler’s ranch. “There are up and down sides to everything. Late calving works for us because we have some flexibility. If calf prices are high in the fall, we sell calves; if they’re low, we run some of them over to yearlings,” Ty explains.

The northern plains aren’t known for temperate, easy winters. To live in the region, people, livestock and wildlife have to be pretty rugged and determined. Heavy snows, wind and subzero temperatures are the norm. Short periods of warmer days, sunshine and thawing turn up in January and February, sometimes melting snow with chinook winds from the west. Those days are often followed by below zero weather that drives livestock to the feed ground and protection. March generally has the most moisture for the year, the majority of which is in the form of snow. Winter tends to last well into March, with little regard for the calendar notion of when spring begins.

Cow-calf operators strive to raise every pound of beef possible with every calf in order to remain profitable. This has led ranchers to start calving earlier and earlier in an attempt to wean heavier calves. It’s plenty of work to calve in February and March. While it takes ample amounts of feed to keep cows milking and the calves growing, most believe that the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Others have headed in the opposite direction – calving later in the spring in an effort to avoid the most frigid weather and winter/spring storms. One such outfit is the Grubbing Hoe Ranch, which is comprised of ranches around the Redig, SD-area and one on the Moreau River at Hoover, SD. Owned and operated by the Fowler family, Leet and Maureen along with their son Ty and his wife Melissa and family, have been ranching in Harding County since the 1880s.

“We used to calve the heifers the tenth of March and the cows between the twentieth and twenty-fifth or so, but have gradually moved the heifers to the twenty-fifth of March and the cows to the tenth of April, with another later calving herd starting around the first of May,” Ty Fowler explains. “This was done because of a combination of tough spring calving weather, and feed and labor concerns.

“When we purchased the Junek Ranch in 2006, we had a portion of that ranch that was on the west side of Highway 85 and we didn’t want to be crossing the highway all the time, so we started the May calving herd because it fit that place. We only have to bring them across the highway once a year to ship the calves,” Ty says.

Flexibility is key for late calving seasons, as demonstrated on Fowler’s ranch. “There are up and down sides to everything. Late calving works for us because we have some flexibility. If calf prices are high in the fall, we sell calves; if they’re low, we run some of them over to yearlings,” Ty explains.

The northern plains aren’t known for temperate, easy winters. To live in the region, people, livestock and wildlife have to be pretty rugged and determined. Heavy snows, wind and subzero temperatures are the norm. Short periods of warmer days, sunshine and thawing turn up in January and February, sometimes melting snow with chinook winds from the west. Those days are often followed by below zero weather that drives livestock to the feed ground and protection. March generally has the most moisture for the year, the majority of which is in the form of snow. Winter tends to last well into March, with little regard for the calendar notion of when spring begins.

Cow-calf operators strive to raise every pound of beef possible with every calf in order to remain profitable. This has led ranchers to start calving earlier and earlier in an attempt to wean heavier calves. It’s plenty of work to calve in February and March. While it takes ample amounts of feed to keep cows milking and the calves growing, most believe that the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Others have headed in the opposite direction – calving later in the spring in an effort to avoid the most frigid weather and winter/spring storms. One such outfit is the Grubbing Hoe Ranch, which is comprised of ranches around the Redig, SD-area and one on the Moreau River at Hoover, SD. Owned and operated by the Fowler family, Leet and Maureen along with their son Ty and his wife Melissa and family, have been ranching in Harding County since the 1880s.

“We used to calve the heifers the tenth of March and the cows between the twentieth and twenty-fifth or so, but have gradually moved the heifers to the twenty-fifth of March and the cows to the tenth of April, with another later calving herd starting around the first of May,” Ty Fowler explains. “This was done because of a combination of tough spring calving weather, and feed and labor concerns.

“When we purchased the Junek Ranch in 2006, we had a portion of that ranch that was on the west side of Highway 85 and we didn’t want to be crossing the highway all the time, so we started the May calving herd because it fit that place. We only have to bring them across the highway once a year to ship the calves,” Ty says.

Flexibility is key for late calving seasons, as demonstrated on Fowler’s ranch. “There are up and down sides to everything. Late calving works for us because we have some flexibility. If calf prices are high in the fall, we sell calves; if they’re low, we run some of them over to yearlings,” Ty explains.

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