Montana State University

Spring 2016

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Mountains and Minds

Moving Day May 10, 2016 Kelly Gorham • Published 05/10/16

A horse, a rider, a herd of mooing cows and the weather are four components of Montana ranching. Twice a year, on nearly every ranch in the state, wranglers move their herds from summer range to winter range. Then, in the spring, they move them back in the other direction.

This January, Mountains and Minds went along as cowboys and researchers at MSU’s historic Northern Agricultural Research Center near Havre moved a herd of 400 cows from summer range in the Bears Paw Mountains near Havre 13 miles to NARC winter pastures. There, they wintered, calved and were studied for a variety of things, including the effects of nutrition on calves and the quality of beef. Results from the research at the center are used to improve the quality of commercially raised beef throughout Montana.

Here is a glimpse into this northern Montana litany.