Reality of Winter by Ranch Manager Lieschen Beretta

Howdy y’all! I am writing to you in the barn office with a heater blasting on my fingers!

I won’t sugar coat Winter on the Ranch for all of you. Being a rancher is one tough job and Beretta is so fortunate to have such fantastic working Ranchers across Canada growing the delicious proteins you get to enjoy on your dinner table.

Throughout the winter, chores change in several ways. The days are shorter and damn are they cold! All animals are checked and fed first no matter what. Here at our head office, the cattle spend the majority of their time still out in the field with access to coming inside for both shelter and water. Throughout the winter months we feed the cattle big round hay bales. My partner (Todd) and I haul hay out into the field every morning on the tractor and roll the bales down the hill. This method gives the cattle the opportunity to eat all at the same time along. Not only that but this also keeps the fields fertilized by being able to feed the cattle in different areas everyday and letting them spread their own manure for the spring!

We have just recently weaned the calves from their mothers which means they are no longer suckling. We are fortunate to be able to keep the calves in a different area that still allows them to see/smell/and touch their mothers through the fence. This is a much more relaxed method and within a few days the calves and cows have both settled down into a new routine. Keeping both the calves and cows calm throughout this process is the most important factor.

Feeding the cattle all sounds fine and dandy until its -30 and your tractor wont start! Oh those glorious days!

One of the biggest challenges for myself as a rancher in the winter is making sure the water never freezes! Automatic waterer troughs work great until the wind is blowing and the wind chill feels like -39! Small electrical issues or heater problems or even pipes bursting can often occur that seem like the end of the world at the time but always get sorted quickly. Having creeks that run into our large pond at the Head Office is another great alternative water source but breaking ice every morning is a workout all on its own!

Looking forward to warmer weather!

Lieschen Beretta