Shelterbelt Benefits During Ulmer
As the number of extreme weather events in Nebraska increases, the Nebraska Forest Service (NFS) recommends regulators and producers revisit the role of windbreaks and shelterbelts in agricultural operations.
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[00:00:00.882](upbeat instrumental music)
[00:00:11.720]This is cattle country.
[00:00:14.120]Over five million cows are fed and marketed
[00:00:16.930]in the state each year.
[00:00:18.651]And no where is that more evident,
[00:00:20.780]than at auction yards like this one in Rushville, Nebraska.
[00:00:29.480]Cattle are sold to the highest bidder's
[00:00:31.110]both locally and nationally.
[00:00:33.190]It's just one example of what amounts
[00:00:35.060]to big business for Nebraska.
[00:00:37.140]The cattle industry has a twelve billion dollar impact
[00:00:39.990]to the states economy.
[00:00:42.390]But so far, 2019 hasn't exactly been kind
[00:00:46.270]to the beef industry.
[00:00:48.116]In March, this area was one of several in the pan handle
[00:00:51.300]hit by two major winter storms.
[00:00:54.810]The first winter storm, Ulmer,
[00:00:56.570]brought high winds and 17 inches of snow,
[00:00:59.620]all of this during calving season.
[00:01:02.280]Brought us a lot of snow,
[00:01:04.110]wind driven snow.
[00:01:05.615]So that's tough on the calf crop,
[00:01:07.880]uh, these baby calves,
[00:01:09.330]if they are during those blizzards,
[00:01:11.950]it's a cold wet time for 'em.
[00:01:14.874]And especially if they're caught out in the open,
[00:01:17.687]and without any shelter or wind protection.
[00:01:20.840]Cows are often seen trying to find shelter,
[00:01:23.680]or protection from the storms.
[00:01:25.581]In cases where fencing failed,
[00:01:27.750]they'd sometimes end up in roads,
[00:01:29.282]or on neighboring property.
[00:01:31.350]That's where they were at,
[00:01:32.183]was behind those bigger trees,
[00:01:33.510]and up in here where, ya know,
[00:01:35.279]where they had some protection.
[00:01:37.230]Dave Howl was one of many ranchers
[00:01:39.050]who discovered dozens of his neighbor's cattle
[00:01:41.280]on his property.
[00:01:42.705]Howl owns and operates several hundred acres of land.
[00:01:46.240]He attributes the safety of his heard
[00:01:48.070]to a decision he made years ago;
[00:01:50.105]to plant wind breaks.
[00:01:52.300]When I fed these cattle Wednesday morning,
[00:01:54.860]we, uh, we closed the gate
[00:01:56.700]on these cattle, locked them in the corral,
[00:01:58.363]'cause we knew the storm was comin' and uh,
[00:02:00.800]so it was comforting to know they were here.
[00:02:02.580]And when we got two of 'em finally on Thursday,
[00:02:04.410]they were comfortable in here,
[00:02:05.920]and just hungry.
[00:02:09.620]Eastern ran cedar wind breaks
[00:02:11.110]have long been a favorite of farmers and ranchers out here,
[00:02:13.659]due to their high tolerance of the elements.
[00:02:16.590]They also help reduce animal stress and mortality.
[00:02:20.017]But it took an event similar to Ulmer
[00:02:22.470]for land owners to turn to wind breaks.
[00:02:24.820]The winter of 1948 to 1949
[00:02:27.690]brought with it 70 mile per hour winds,
[00:02:29.891]24 inches of total snowfall,
[00:02:32.041]and extreme cold temperatures.
[00:02:34.611]The result was a major loss of live stock,
[00:02:37.390]and, as land owner Pat Strasburger puts it,
[00:02:40.437]"a change in ranchers attitudes."
[00:02:42.499]Partner everybody planted trees the next year
[00:02:44.939]As you go along, when you plant another grove,
[00:02:48.770]or wind breaks some places where you need 'em,
[00:02:51.330]and you ain't gonna-
[00:02:53.342]you ain't gonna lose enough ground
[00:02:55.140]to shake a stick at,
[00:02:56.790]in a- in 15 years somebody will appreciate it.
[00:03:02.070]Nearly 40 years later,
[00:03:03.500]that lesson repeated itself to Pat's son Mike,
[00:03:06.470]who now runs the ranch.
[00:03:08.050]You know, with the storms that we've had this spring,
[00:03:10.421]there's- it's particularly important,
[00:03:13.100]to visit with someone about the importance of these trees.
[00:03:16.000]And planting trees in the sand hills
[00:03:17.970]for livestock protection.
[00:03:19.690]And, and uh, with two back-to-back,
[00:03:22.827]really tough storms,
[00:03:25.310]it- it was uh,
[00:03:27.420]the trees that were here on this ranch were crucial
[00:03:30.330]in saving multiple lives.
[00:03:33.420]The Strasburger family owns 75 hundred acres
[00:03:36.106]and operates close to 10 thousand,
[00:03:38.630]with 525 cow-calf pairs.
[00:03:41.646]His losses during the storm though,
[00:03:44.630]He chalks that up to his wind breaks,
[00:03:46.760]and a family tradition.
[00:03:48.910]My grandfather was a tree planter,
[00:03:50.970]my dad was a tree planter, and uh,
[00:03:54.076]it helped the wild life,
[00:03:55.700]and it- it just,
[00:03:56.947]it adds tremendous value to your operation.
[00:04:00.760]The things you do now,
[00:04:02.059]maybe you don't think a lot about,
[00:04:04.800]but someday, you know,
[00:04:06.260]the next generation will say,
[00:04:07.527]"you know what?
[00:04:08.888]I'm so thankful for what he did."
[00:04:12.207]Even years after the dust bowl of the 1930's
[00:04:15.762]or the blizzards of the late 40's,
[00:04:17.913]the benefits of wind breaks continue on.
[00:04:21.082]As the number of extreme weather events
[00:04:23.420]in Nebraska increases,
[00:04:25.310]the Nebraska Forest Service recommends regulators
[00:04:27.880]and producers revisit the role of wind breaks
[00:04:30.850]and shelter belts in cattle operations.
[00:04:34.350]For more information,
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