Schuler Red Angus is located in western Nebraska, near Bridgeport. They run a cow/calf seed stock operation and have a small feedlot alongside a farming operation. On the ranch is Butch and Susan Schuler, their son David, and their hired man Tom.
When the Bomb Cyclone Blizzard hit, the Schulers were amid the busiest part of their calving season. Their heifers were finishing up, but their AI’d and synchronized cattle herd were coming fast and hard with about 25-30 head a day. They have all these cattle close to the home place in order to keep tabs on them and for extra care during treacherous weather.
Going into the storm, they knew it was going to be bad.
“We bedded all of our penned-up cattle with straw and made sure all cattle had access to windbreaks. We also fed extra amounts of hay to our cattle herd in strategic locations so their small calves would have a fighting chance,” David said.
In his entire life, Butch had never seen a storm with such wind, snow, and cold all together. Throughout the storm, it was impossible to see your hands right in front of your face. When the rain changed to snow, the Schulers went into survival mode focusing on their calving cows and pairs. They had about 250 calves on the ground and right around 40 head of cows calving during the 48-hours of the storm. To say they were spread a little thin would be an understatement.
“I will for the rest of my life remember those two nights of my father and I putting on all the layers we could, grabbing a couple four-wheelers, and screaming down to the calving pasture. We grabbed every newborn calf we could find, brought it to the barn (while getting stuck numerous times) for mom to warm up and organize, and head back down for more. We couldn’t save them all, but we managed to save a large majority. It may have taken a couple years off our lives in the process, but it was worth it,” David said.
Since the storm, the Schulers have been in full recovery mode. At one point, they had 35 calves in the barn looking for their moms. Once the storm finally let up, it was nonstop trying to get calves back to their moms in time. Those calves were away from their mothers for about 24 or more hours (they didn’t have time to bring the cows along with the calves during the storm), so it’s been a process to get everything paired back up correctly.
“Being plum stuck in the snow has quickly turned in to being plum stuck in the mud. Patience has been well used, but we are nearing the end of the tunnel. There will be some mistakes and bottle calves will come from this storm, but we know it could have been a lot worse. My thoughts and prayers are with the cattlemen and women of northeast Nebraska. They are the true warriors of this storm,” David said.