Please scroll down to the bottom of this article to hear more of the interview with Heartland Livestock Manager in Virden, Brennin Jack and CJRB’s Betty Sawatzky. 

The last few weeks of cold wet weather has played havoc for cattle producers in the Westman Region. 

Virden’s Heartland Livestock Manager, Brennin Jack, says many of his customers have lost calves over the past two weekends, and the cold, wet weather isn’t over yet with another Colorado low bring rain and snow to Manitoba over the next 3 days. 

“Most operations have some sort of a set up to get [animals] out of the elements,” explains Jack.  “But at this time of the year most ranchers are calving in larger scales and just don’t have the facilities to take the burden off from all of the weather.  So, a lot of these animals are fending for themselves and it’s up to the ranchers to get out there and get the calves warmed up, get them strawed up, and get them feeling as good as possible.” 

It’s has been a very discouraging time for producers to deal with the cold wind, snow and rain and dipping temperatures when it comes to newborn calves being born out in the elements. “I know there were a lot of customers that were working day and night, 24-7 to save calves and keep the cows in good condition as well,” he says. 

“It’s certainly been tiring for the producers and we certainly feel for all those that have had significant losses in the last couple of weeks and we sure hope that it gets better for them,” he adds. 

Jack has been in the cattle industry for a number of years, as a cattle producer himself in Saskatchewan and now as General Manager of Heartland Livestock in Virden since mid-September 2021. Strong ties with his own customers and friends and family keep him ‘in-the-know' of what producers are facing. 

“Lack of feed, lack of straw, lack of grass to put cattle out,” shares Jack, “and of course coming out of a bad drought there really is no grass to speak of right now for cattle to go out on grass, and with the cold weather, we’re still a good 3-4 weeks before we’re going to see any significant amount of grass. So, it's just one thing after another.”  

Going forward into the spring months, Jack feels the farming industry has a better start to the growing season with the extra snow and rain, even though precipitation came unseasonably and created terrible challenges for ranchers. 

“What I tell folks is that we might have lost 5% of the calf crop but it’s going to save 95% of the cow herd.” 

Jack says his customers were able to hold on through the past dry summer, and cold snowy winter, “But, another year of significant drought would be devastating for the Ag industry, especially for the livestock in Manitoba. So, unfortunately, the major amounts of moisture that’s coming is a double-edged sword, but that’s what it takes to end a drought … a big, wide-spread area with major amounts of moisture, and unfortunately, it's what the province needed to keep the cow numbers in the province.” 

Please click below to hear more of the interview with Heartland Livestock Manager in Virden, Brennin Jack and CJRB’s Betty Sawatzky.