The conditions for cattle in W. Mt is pristine. Cool summers, lots of water and green grass most of the year. Some run on irrigated pastures.
Lots of problems though, and I speak from first-hand experience. The water contains sulfates which ties up copper and zinc. There is a lot of sickness all across that area. Just visit a vet clinic and look at how they are set up to deal with scours. Very professional compared to the vet clinics in E. Mt, where scours are not such a a problem. A friend of ours just lost a lot of calves to Crypto. Of course, cattle are spread out in E. Mt. more, but I am of the mind that it is not the conditions as much as the IMMUNE SYSTEM. Sulfates in the water interferes with a healthy immune system.
Up by Augusta, there was a terrible scours problem. Using a high-copper/zinc mineral with BIOMOSS and CTC has eliminated the problem. They must have the added trace minerals, though, to keep the animals healthy.
John Patterson from MSU told me the water in W. Mt. is picking the producers pocket by tying up copper and zinc. MSU research points out that in Montana we are short of both these trace minerals. That is why a good mineral program makes such a difference.