NewsMontana News


October snow difficult on some Montana ranchers

Posted at 11:48 AM, Oct 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-05 12:42:25-04

Wintry weather arrived in Montana recently making conditions difficult for some Montana ranchers.

Laura Monroe and her husband Hughie said that the 14 inches of snow currently on their land on the Milk River Ridge north of Browning has made it nearly impossible for them to reach their 250 cattle.

They were set to ship their calves the first weekend in October to Great Falls, but they had to cancel.

“They’re under enough stress right now, we don’t want to add more stress to them trying to get them out of knee-deep snow,” Laura Monroe said.

Usually, during this time when they’re getting ready to ship their calves they can expect it to be cold with some snow on the ground with possibly even windy conditions, but this year with over one foot of snow it was not the conditions they were ready for.

Laura Monroe said besides one out-of-season snowstorm that occurred in June, they usually don’t see this much snow this early in late September or early October.

“Well, you think about last winter and the horrendous conditions we went through last year, I don’t want to do this another year,” she said.

They plan to break a trail with their pickup trucks to be able to get their cattle as close to the highway as they can for the next pick up date.

Not only has it been stressful trying to figure out how they’re going to ship their calves out, they have also been stressed trying to find a way to get feed out to them.

“The good thing about it is they have a lot of brush they can get in to,” Laura Monroe said.

She said her husband has been working all day trying to get food to them.

But with the snow getting heavier due to melting, the cows won’t be able to move the snow the access grass underneath. Once it re-freezes, the cows will not even be able to get to the grass at all.

They are hoping to be able to reach their calves and get them sent out for the next sale date on Oct. 13, but with more snow possible in the coming days they could face even more difficulty.

-Kasey Herman reporting for MTN News