CGND | Our Pasture View | June 2021

Maria Bichler

Maria Bichler is a wife, young mother of three and owner of Bichler Simmentals in Linton, N.D. She works from home as a journalist alongside her husband, Doug, as they manage their family’s 100-year-old farm and ranching operation.

Time is a fickle thing, a silly companion. Always moving, always going too fast yet never enough time appears in one day. All of a sudden, here we are closer to summer than the beginning of spring. And, with the changing of seasons comes the inevitable process of transition for our cows and calves.

We began calving our cowherd at the tail end of April. This week, we have about 50 cows left to calve, which means we have cared for over 200 cows and newborn calves. Each calf has been weighed shortly after birth and given an ear tag for identification purposes. I say we have cared for all these cows, but in reality, Doug, who happens to have one arm, has completed this work solo. The girls and I show our support by keeping Doug in good spirits and otherwise tending to our growing list of small animal chores.

For the first time in our program last year, we calved in May and June in an effort to decrease the work load for Doug. The transition has, so far, been a success in more ways than we had anticipated. We’ve noticed an increase in calf health and vigor along with an increase in the body condition and health of the cows. The labor load for Doug is significantly less, and no doubt the weather is more desirable in June than our previous calving season of February and March. Our cows calve on pasture located directly across the road from our farm yard.

But, the time has come for us to open the gates and allow our seasoned cowherd and frolicking calves to spend their summer months on pasture. As calves have aged this spring, we have been hauling cow-calf pairs to their respective acres of land. There, cattle will utilize native grasses to thrive until time sneaks up on us and cold weather will signal the transition to return home once again.

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