October 11 2013
Cleanup continues from last weekend’s early-season blizzard. Ranchers are dealing with cattle killed by the snowstorm.
“It was just the type of storm it was, very unusual coming this early in the fall, in October,” she said. “The animals don’t have their winter coat on yet. They’re still out on grass – they’re not up home in good shelter.”
And even those who avoided immediate losses may still be affected, Thompson added.
“The guys that their cattle was up in the timber, those guys fared a lot better with not losing cows,” she said. “However, those cows are going to start slinking calves in the next few weeks more than likely —aborting calves. Because they eat the pine needles and, long story short, it makes them abort the calves.”
As of Friday morning, the official count of cattle losses for Dawes and Sioux Counties stood at 1,060, according to local emergency manager Nan Gould.
But Jeff Wallin, idling at a gas station in Crawford Thursday evening with his truck full of carcasses, reflected a widespread view that the actual count is much higher: “I started this morning at 8 and picked up close to 80 head already,” he said. “And another guy picked up 50. And they picked up from one rancher 300 head of cattle. And there’s thousands of them up here that are dead.”
One estimate from a North Dakota newspaper put the number of dead cattle in neighboring South Dakota in the range of 60,000.
The financial effects are still unknown. A federal program to reimburse producers is caught up in the legislative paralysis over the farm bill.
by Fred Knapp, NET