Corey Hanson, Early January 2020

Corey Hanson picks up bale twines to dispose of, while his dad, Floyd added hay to the big round bale feeder. Bear, an Australian Shepherd, stays aware of it all as well as the photographer. By Andrea Johnson.

GARY, Minn. – Conditions stayed mild in northwest Minnesota – considering it was early February. Temperatures on Feb. 2 reached 38-40 degrees, and there hadn’t been a lot of new snow.

“It’s surprising, with some warm weather and just only seeing sun for a day over the last two weeks – you do see a little grass on the edge of the creek bank, or you see a little grass next to a tree,” said Corey Hanson on Feb. 3. “It gives you hope that it’s going to be spring again.”

As hard as the snow was, some cattle walked over the top of a fence. Corey got the cattle back in and completed some short-term fencing with a temporary electric wire to keep them in.

Everything was going smoothly at the Hanson farm. The feeder cattle put on a lot of weight in January.

“We’re looking at possibly getting rid of some steers yet this week, if not, next week,” he said. “Those are going to the Bagley Sale Barn.”

The Bagley Livestock Exchange is northern Minnesota’s largest livestock auction. Sales are held every Thursday. Bagley was about 55 miles east of Gary.

Corey had finished drying all of the corn harvested on Christmas Eve. He was completely caught up with drying.

“I'm just waiting for the snow to settle, so we can do our spring harvesting, which really doesn’t make sense,” he said. “You shouldn’t be harvesting in the spring. You should be planting in the spring and harvesting in the fall. I’m still having a hard time rolling that off my tongue, because it doesn’t seem to be right.”

For fun and refocusing, he made some trips up to Lake of the Woods for fishing.

Calving hadn’t started yet. The gestating cows remained fairly healthy, with no real respiratory concerns despite some cloudy or foggy days.

When he was adding to the fence line, he realized he was going to need to push some snow off the normal calving area of 2-3 acres. The snow remained well over 2-3 feet deep.

“We’ve had to do that in the past in an occasional year where we do get a lot of snow,” he said. “My big concern is our main snow months are usually February and March vs. November and December, like we had already this winter.”

Minnesota Ag Expo was held back on Jan. 22-23 down in Mankato, Minn. Corey serves on the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association Board of Directors as the Norman County representative. So, he drove down for the meetings. He sat in on the annual meetings for both the soybean and corn organizations on both the legislative and checkoff sides.

He noticed the snow depth was about 8 inches in the southern half of Minnesota, compared to northern Minnesota where the snow depth was close to 18 inches.

“They’re already talking up here about flood and problems, which is warranted in our counties and townships because of the excess snow we have right now,” he said. “The soils are very saturated from last fall, last year plus the fact that the soils are not really froze.

“I think that’s going to be a huge challenge for us as we try to finish our harvesting,” he added. “The ground is not going to support the combine or the grain carts unless things really change.”