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.

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READ MORE: Life on a Cattle Ranch in Western South Dakota [PHOTOS]

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.

south dakota calving season
JD Collins

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.

JD Collins
JD Collins

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.'

JD Collins
JD Collins

Life on a Cattle Ranch in Western South Dakota

Life is different out in the country. One look at the photo from Robin Bickel and you quickly realize that a workday is quite different as well, after all, she lives out west in South Dakota Cattle Country.

Robin Bickel took time to tell KIKN Country a little bit about her life out west and life as a woman, working outdoors with animals and nature in God's Country. Bickel lives and works on a cattle ranch operated by herself, her father, Jack, and his brother Keith. How far out in the country is she? How does 50 miles west of Mobridge, South Dakota sound? Yep, mountain time out there.

Life is so different in Sioux Falls, South Dakota compared to what our friends on the farm and ranches deal with. It's a half-mile to the grocery store for our family. For Robin, it's 17 miles. However, it's a quick step out her door and she's right in the middle of where a lot of the groceries come from.

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