The growing season throughout most of Mongolia is very short - and that is especially true here in the northern province of Khovsgol, nestled among the fingerlike extensions of Siberia's Sayan Mountains, which lie just to the North.
The combination of a high latitude (50 degrees north) and high elevation (about 1,200 meters above sea level) pushes the last frost of spring into June and brings fall's first frost as early as the first week of September - sometimes even mid-August.
But the climate is not really the biggest impediment to agriculture here or elsewhere in Mongolia. Tradition is perhaps the main reason that crops are grown on less than one percent of the nation's land area.
Historically a nomadic people, Mongolians continue to rely on animal herds for most of their food, exploiting the vast grasslands that compose the famous Central Asian steppes. The result is a diet for the average Mongolian that consists chiefly of meat and dairy products.