Kurt Elliott family

The Elliott family (l to r) Levi, grandson Bridger, Dani, Kurt, Cheryl and Chase.


GALESBURG, N.D. – The blizzard that closed out 2019 complicated moving hay from the fields into the feed yard at Tri E Simmentals.

“It has been a nuisance for the guys hauling the bales in,” said Kurt Elliott. “With all the snow, they have to push their way around the fields more when they are loading the trucks, and yesterday they were falling into drainage ditches and getting stuck. It’s not frozen very hard or deep.”

However, the feedlot surfaces are now coming to a point where the Elliotts will start purchasing calves and bringing them into the feedlots.

“There are still a few spots in the feedlot where the cattle know better than to go, where there is deep snow,” he explained. “If there is a foot of snow on top, they don’t go into that area. I haven’t had any trouble this week, so that always makes it easier.”

The cattle herd is sticking pretty close to the farm yard now. They have a half section of fenced field that they have access to, but with all the snow they aren’t traveling around much, according to Kurt, who estimates they have about 18 inches of snow in the fields now.

They still hope to get some more corn combined once the weather warms up a little bit.

“The corn has probably dried down a little more by now and if it warms up enough so that we aren’t beating up the on the combine too bad, we’ll give it a try. I think it is awfully tough on the trucks and combine when you run them in the winter time, especially with all the plastic that is used now days,” he said. “We probably won’t be able to get into the headlands or edges of the field. If we can get a little bit up on some nice days, it is better than fighting it in the spring when we should be doing other things.”

While driving around, Kurt hasn’t noticed much breakage from the wind during the last blizzard, even though the winds were quite strong. With drifts up to six feet deep at the edges of the field, he entertained a thought that maybe those deep drifts offered some windbreak type protection for much of the field.

The first of February marks an increase in the cow herd activity in two areas – the calving season begins and it’s also the time to start their unique type of production sale for bulls.

“We have already moved a handful of heifers home already, since they are starting to show,” he said. “They are supposed to start calving on the first of February.”

The bull sale is a strictly private treaty sale that starts on a certain day. From that day forward, people can start discussion on an animal they would like to buy. All of the bulls remain at the farm – not hauled to a sales barn for a regular type auction.

“Many of the buyers have only 40 cows or so in their herd and don’t want to go to a big bull sale,” he noted. “In another couple weeks we will send a mailing out so they have some idea of what we have and some pictures of what we have available.

“We did a sale at the sale barn in Mandan a few times and did a lot of advertising and it just hasn’t worked for us. The quality of cattle just keeps getting better and better and that is because of things like embryo work and other different things that can be done. There is just a lot of good cattle and that is what we want – we want everybody to have the best cattle.”

Kurt’s son, Levi, will be attending the Western Stock Show in Denver during the next few days and once he returns he will start putting the final pieces together for this year’s bull sale. We will know more details about that in our next issue.