A Cowboy’s Faith: Rainfall short, complexity high

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“When it doesn’t rain, all sorts of problems arise.”

How long has it been since there’s was a true pond filling downpour?

Oh, certain locales have received major rainfall with not a single water issue at the present. Yet, just a few miles away, sometimes just across the section, farmers and ranchers alike are in a dire situation.

One cattleman a short stretch over in the county to the west said it right: “We’re in real trouble.”

His concerns outnumbered some others. Crops were planted, trying to grow, but far insufficient moisture such with the heat leaves were curled and deteriorating. Add to that, the spring was dry; every mud hole that had remained in the creek was gone. There hadn’t been water in the pond for a week.

Short sprigs of grass showed here and there, keeping the yearlings on the prowl, weight gains going backwards. What’s a producer to do? Nothing one can do about the growing crops, barring a new irrigation system, except pray for rain.

Cattlemen do have some alternatives. Sell now, stop the losses. Haul feed and water hoping for some profit; feeling assured “it’ll rain tonight.”

Small showers on the ranch though far and few between have kept most hardy native pastures with some green regrowth. There is limited feedstuff, not yet requiring supplement for the cows and calves if they graze diligently.

Lower than in more than four decades, most of the ponds still have a little bit of water. Shallow wet weather seeps have been dry for a year or more.

So, the cattle are not without water, even though it’s very murky. The biggest dilemma now is the mud cows and calves must go through to get a drink. Waterline is many yards from the normal shoreline, with several feet of mud to cross before reaching water. This is heavy, very sticky muck that cattle, calves and cows as well, can become caught in, unable to get out.

Once trapped in the deep dark sludge, with 100-degree temperatures, flies, no water, any critter rapidly deteriorates. Recovery is often impossible after rescue.

Hauling to town or carrying water and feed are simple compared to fencing livestock out of dozens of muddy ponds.

Reminded of Exodus 14:25: “They were stuck in the mud, yet God was on their side.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas