October snow makes it difficult for some Browning ranchers to reach cattle

Posted at 5:04 PM, Oct 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-04 22:08:16-04

Wintry weather arrived in Montana several days ago, with more intense storms that followed this week.

Laura Monroe and her husband Hughie said that the 14 inches of snow currently on their land on the Milk River Ridge, which is north of Browning, has made it nearly impossible for them to reach their 250 cattle.

They were set to ship their calves this first weekend in October to Great Falls, but they had to cancel this year.

She said, “They’re under enough stress right now, we don’t want to add more stress to them trying to get them out of knee deep snow.”

Usually during this time when they’re getting ready to ship their calves, they can it expect it to be cold with some snow on the ground with possibly even windy conditions, but this year with over one foot of snow on the ground, it was not the conditions they were ready for.

Photo from Laura Monroe

Laura said besides one out-of-season snow storm that occurred in June, they usually don’t see this much snow this early in late September or early October.

Laura added, “Well, you think about last winter and the horrendous conditions we went through last year, I don’t want to do this another year.”

They plan to break up trail with their pick-ups to be able to get their cattle as close to the highway as they can for the next pick up date.

Not only has it been stressful trying to figure out how they’re going to ship their calves out, they have also been stressed trying to find a way to get feed out to them.

Laura added, “The good thing about it is they have a lot of brush they can get in to.” She said her husband has been working all day trying to get food to them.

But, with the snow getting heavier due to melting, the cows won’t be able to move the snow the access grass underneath. Once it re-freezes, the cows will not even be able to get to the grass at all.

They are hoping to be able to reach their calves and get them sent out for the next sale date on October 13th, but with more snow possible in the coming days, only time will tell.

Reporting by Kasey Herman for MTN News