My Brief ‘Tagging’ Experience During South Dakota Calving Season
Calving Season in South Dakota
For livestock producers, calving season comes packing a multitude of emotions. From the work aspect, it means checking on the cows regularly. When the weather turns sour, those checks may be more frequent, if not nonstop. However, calving season can be one of the most satisfying parts of your year.
In 2021, I had the opportunity to get out of Sioux Falls and get a little manure on my boots. I met up with cattle producer Jay Hojer (pronounced Hoyer) from rural Oldham, South Dakota to see up close how calving season is done.
On the ride out to the calving yard in Hojer's Ranger, I was reminded that things can go south in a hurry while tagging calves.
For those of you who are not familiar with tagging, it's so the producers know which cow and producer the calf belongs to. It's also a 'process' that helps producers around the world earn the 'one of the most dangerous jobs' title.
So we loaded up and headed out. It turns out, I had never tagged a calf. I had ear notched, and 'faked it' at Dakotafest with Doc Barz and the Cattle Team during chute demonstrations but never actually did the deed.
Hojer showed me how and on the second try I was actually able to attach the tag.
This particular calf had a momma that was a former 4-H project, so she was a sweetheart and easy to work with. Being the good mamma she was though, we still kept a close eye on her.
It can be quite a joyous yet sometimes difficult and emotional time for producers. But it's kind of like golf. One good day in the calving yard and later seeing the pairs out on green pasture make it feel like the best job in the world.
After I talked about the trip to Oldham on Facebook, people from around the area came up with suggestions of what else I should do when I got there.
From visiting the Green Thumb Commodities to a swing by the hairdresser shop, a stop at the bank, The Oldham Saloon, the local elevator for a bag of popcorn for lunch, Dave's 'junk', and more.
Here's a 'shout out' to our friends who have been out in the yard calving, pulling, feeding, and generally making sure their cows be comfortable and well-fed as they get ready to give birth. Thank you for what you do and all of us here hope you have a happy, and SAFE calving season.
Thank you for sharing this story with your livestock-producing friends. That way they can chuckle a bit when they heard that JD from KIKN Country had never tagged a calf. Thanks to Jay Hojer and Oldham, South Dakota, I can cross that off my 'bucket calf list.'