South Dakota calving season begins to avoid another wet spring

South Dakota News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) –It’s only mid-February and already people are bracing for what could be another year of widespread flooding.

Hamlin County, which was hit hard last year by heavy rain and runoff, picked up another foot of snow over the weekend and that has a lot of people worried, especially farmers.

Calving season got underway early this year for Nick Stormo, who farms in Hamlin County. He already has 83 new calves that were born in the last three weeks, some of them just this morning.

“This year we decided to move up half the cow herd and calve them in January and February so we could have frozen ground,” said Stormo.

Stormo says he’d rather have his calves deal with the cold weather than take a chance and deal with another wet spring.

We visited him last year during the calving season and the conditions were hard on the herd. He lost 15% of his calves last year due to the wet conditions, so he decided to start calving season early.

“Fight cold weather instead of mud so we can control them a little bit better, keep them in the barns, keep them dry and up off the ground with some bedding,” said Stormo.

Farmers aren’t the only ones preparing for another wet spring.

“We’re certainly concerned with what could happen, that doesn’t mean the worst is going to happen, but that’s kind of the business we’re in, we plan for the worst and hope for the best,” said David Schaefer, Hamlin County Emergency manager.

Hamlin County Emergency manager David Schaefer says rivers and lakes in the area are already full and he’s afraid history is going to repeat itself.

“We are almost mid-February and by mid-March last year we were already flooding,” said Schaefer.

That’s why farmers like Stormo aren’t taking any chances.

“Without a doubt, it’s going to be wet and there’s going to be mud, it’s just a matter of how long it’s going to take and how quick it comes I guess,” said Stormo.

Stormo’s only calving half of his herd early, the rest he’ll finish calving in April.

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