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Newborns rest in the calving barn on the Scott Olerud ranch in McLeod, N.D. David Samson / The Forum

Calving calamity: North Dakota cattle losses rival those of '97

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Sometime between 3 and 6 on a recent morning, one of Scott Olerud's newborn calves stumbled down a mound, fell into a pool of snow-melted water and drowned in the dark.

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"We hate losing calves. But no matter how careful we are, we're always going to lose a few," said Olerud, who checks his cattle at least once every three hours in calving season.

This spring, however, Olerud and other North Dakota producers aren't losing just a few calves.

They're losing a lot.

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