FORSYTH, Mont. – Strong winds blew through eastern Montana over Jan. 14-15. Whlle Larsen Ranch Angus was in the path of the winds, they didn’t have any damage.
“The strong winds from last week didn’t cause any damage to our place, but some of the neighbors had a few things that were broken,” Wendy Warren said.
At the ranch, Jim and Carin Larsen and their adult children and spouses, Wendy and Lafe Warren, Lori Vance, and Tyler and Tisha Larsen, and their families, work together to operate the seedstock and commercial Black Angus business.
The families have continued preparing for their upcoming bull sale on March 22.
“Over the past two weeks, we have weighed all of the bulls that will be in the sale,” she said.
They have also been busy gathering data on the registered bulls for the sale catalog.
“For the March sale, we continue to gather data, and we will soon be taking photos of the registered bulls for the catalog,” Wendy said.
Calving is right around the corner for the Larsens, and they are preparing for that.
The registered Angus cows usually start around mid-February, while the commercial cows start about mid-March.
Weather can be a major factor in decisions that are made during calving season.
“We adapt to the weather, and so far, we have been fortunate that the weather over the past couple weeks has been in the 30s to 40s,” she said. “We haven’t had much for moisture yet. But one thing is for sure – once we start calving, there tends to be a big snowstorm.”
They brought the registered heifers home from the range and closer to home to calve out.
The Larsens have a large barn where the registered heifers calve. There is often snow and bitter cold conditions in February, so the barn is used to keep the new calves warm with their mommas in the individual pens.
“We have cameras in the barns with a zoom and pan function, and we can check on the heifers calving throughout the day and night using these cameras since they can be accessed on our phones at any time,” she said.
The Larsens rotate night shifts between 2-3 family members each night. If they spot a heifer in trouble, they can be there right away and intervene, but most times, it goes well.
“It makes it easy to calve when you have the new technologies, such as cameras in the barn, and I am pretty sure that the heifers appreciate us not bothering them throughout the process,” Wendy said.
The registered cows are out in a hilly area with trees and areas where they are able to get out of the wind to calve.
“If we know there is an extreme storm coming, we will sort the heavies off to bring then closer to home to calve,” she said.
The commercial cows calve in their winter pasture and have areas that protect them from the wind and snow.
“When we feed, we are always checking the herd to make sure calving is going well,” she added.
The Larsens occasionally have twin calves.
“In some years, we have had more twins than others. Then we will graft a twin to another cow that has lost her calf,” Wendy said.