It’s winter at Long Pines Land and Livestock.
The average low temperature for January in South Dakota is 10 degrees but the northwest corner, home to Long Pines, is typically colder, more like North Dakota or Montana. That’s without factoring in wind chill. And the state averages 39 inches of snow per year.
Our cattle are bred to handle the harsh winter conditions Mother Nature dishes out. “You can run them in different climates and they can adapt to about anything,” says Sterling Brown, day-to-day manager of the Long Pines cattle herd, which is now 95% purebred Irish Black® or Irish Red®. “There’s Irish Blacks and Reds from Florida all the way up into the higher mountains of Montana and Colorado. They’ve just been proven to succeed everywhere.”
Irish Black and Irish Red cattle from Long Pines are Productive, Predictable and Profitable, no matter where they live. “We switched to Irish Blacks a long time ago because we liked the moderate size,” says Deb Brown, Long Pines owner. It’s been a benefit through this past year of severe drought and continues to be through the winter. “If your cattle are hardy and require less feed, it makes for a better profit margin,” she emphasized.
The 2021 drought forced a deep culling program. One of the criteria was efficiency and hardiness. “Nature can be worked with or worked against,” says Deb. “It’s a lot easier to work in sync. We strive to keep cattle that will stay on the land and thrive no matter the conditions.”
Long Pines cattle not only require less feed to support their smaller frame, but the bulls can breed up to 70 head. That’s a pretty good deal, according to Sterling, “You’re feeding less bulls in the winter and have less to worry about in the summer, and they last longer, too. We’ve got bulls that are 6 years old breeding and they could probably keep going.”
Calving at Long Pines has been moved back to May, hopefully long after winter moves out and the strong northern plains grass is getting a good start. But for those who want calves to arrive earlier in the year, Irish Blacks and Reds are ready.
“The calves have long hair, so they can take the cold. They’re up and at it within 20 minutes. They’re just moving,” says Sterling. “They’re quick, some of the quickest calves I’ve ever seen.” He says the females are phenomenal mothers. “They’re great milk producers. It doesn’t take long for the calves to get a belly full.”
That belly is full of crucial colostrum. A calf needs about 2 quarts of colostrum within 4 hours after birth, and a gallon within 12 hours. The most efficient way to provide initial colostrum is through suckling the dam – and basically essential on the range.
So, if you want cattle that can survive and thrive in any environment, even the harsh northern plains winters, Long Pines Irish Blacks and Irish Reds are for you. They truly are more Productive, Predictable and Profitable than many breeds out there. Even though the Long Pines herd numbers are reduced due to drought, there are some females and bulls available.
Visitors are welcome at Long Pines. If you come during the winter, bundle up and come see what we can do for you. Or just give us a call or email from the warmth of your home. Either way, we’ll gladly talk about cattle that are Productive, Predictable and Profitable and just what your commercial operation needs – in every season.