Winter cattle

Shawn Freeland’s cattle find grass to graze under a blanket of snow. The Caputa, S.D., area received about 7 inches Oct. 10. 

The Black Hills of South Dakota received about 7 inches of snow Oct. 10, and it stuck around for well over a week in areas where it drifted.

Before the storm, crop watcher Shawn Freeland of Caputa, South Dakota harvested and stored as many pumpkins as he could before moving his focus to his cows. All of his cattle were moved to areas with natural protection from the elements.

“We had plenty of stockpiled grass so we did not have to start a tractor and feed them during the blizzard,” he said.

The storm had a similar feel to Winter Storm Atlas of 2013 that killed many cattle in western South Dakota. The forecasted snow had many ranchers on edge, moving cattle and preparing for the worst, Freeland said.

The pumpkins that were left on the vine froze hard. The cover crop maze shrunk a bit in height, but families seem to still enjoy getting lost and learning about our farm, Freeland said.

Leading up to the last weekend of maze activities, the Freelands will shift their focus and efforts to moving cattle closer to home, evaluating winter forage conditions for grazing and finishing the remodel of their shop.

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Janelle is editor of the Tri-State Neighbor, covering South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, northwestern Iowa and northeastern Nebraska. Reach her at or follow on Twitter @JLNeighbor