Alaina Mousel, Editor

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July 22, 2011
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South Dakota heat, humidity leave 1,700 cattle dead

Three deadly weather conditions were felt across the region this past week: high heat, high humidity, and almost no breeze. As of Thursday, July 21, an estimated 1,700 cattle died in South Dakota due to extreme weather conditions, said Russ Daly, South Dakota State University extension veterinarian.

"It's rare that we actually get this combination of factors for such an extended period," said Dustin Oedekoven, South Dakota state veterinarian, noting that it wasn't just high daytime temperatures, but prolonged temperatures that didn't abate at night, paired with added humidity because of previous wet conditions.

"So far only cattle deaths have been reported, and almost all cases have been fat cattle, along with a few yearlings and a few cows out on grass," Oedekoven continued.

Both Daly and Oedekoven say it's difficult to pin-point exact numbers of death loss because there are no mandatory reporting requirements in the state.

"So what we're hearing is probably just the tip of the iceberg," Daly said.

By Tuesday night, Daly compiled reports from Extension educators and veterinarians to illustrate where cattle were being lost. By county, he reported: McCook, 14 head; Dickey (ND) and Brown (SD), 300-plus and 30 percent death loss at one feedlot; Brookings, 4; Hamlin, 600 from a 1,500-head lot, plus others; Codington, 100 head; Lyman, 100 head; Hutchinson, 45 cows and 20 calves after moving to a new pasture, plus 15 fed cattle; Deuel, 22 head; Miner, 15 head. Yankton County reported producers marketing fat cattle at 1,200 pounds, versus normal marketing at 1,400 pounds. By Thursday, Daly added another 80 head to Hamlin County's losses; Marshall, 26; and 28 feeder calves and dairy cows in the area.

South Dakota faced similar conditions in 2007, when an estimated 2,800 head were lost due to extreme weather. "I have heard from Extension educators that some of the feedlots that experienced large losses in 2007 came through this stretch with very few problems because they installed sprinkler systems and made other management changes," Daly said.

Both Oedekoven and Daly had only anecdotal knowledge of weather-related death loss in surrounding states, including a few cases in North Dakota, and more feedlot-related issues in Minnesota and Nebraska.

Nebraska state veterinarian Dennis Hughes said producers in that state had lost cattle due to extreme weather, but he didn't have any estimate. "Rendering facilities are running at full-capacity," he noted.

Producers who have lost cattle due to weather-related incidents are urged to contact their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) to report losses. FSA's Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) program provides benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather that occurred between January 2008 and Oct. 1, 2011, including losses because of hurricanes, floods, blizzards, disease, wildfires, extreme heat and extreme cold.

Producers need to notify FSA offices within 30 days after the loss for partial reimbursement of their losses. The reimbursement amount for those eligible for LIP is based on market value and weight of livestock.

Three deadly weather conditions were felt across the region this past week: high heat, high humidity, and almost no breeze. As of Thursday, July 21, an estimated 1,700 cattle died in South Dakota due to extreme weather conditions, said Russ Daly, South Dakota State University extension veterinarian.

"It's rare that we actually get this combination of factors for such an extended period," said Dustin Oedekoven, South Dakota state veterinarian, noting that it wasn't just high daytime temperatures, but prolonged temperatures that didn't abate at night, paired with added humidity because of previous wet conditions.

"So far only cattle deaths have been reported, and almost all cases have been fat cattle, along with a few yearlings and a few cows out on grass," Oedekoven continued.

Both Daly and Oedekoven say it's difficult to pin-point exact numbers of death loss because there are no mandatory reporting requirements in the state.

"So what we're hearing is probably just the tip of the iceberg," Daly said.

By Tuesday night, Daly compiled reports from Extension educators and veterinarians to illustrate where cattle were being lost. By county, he reported: McCook, 14 head; Dickey (ND) and Brown (SD), 300-plus and 30 percent death loss at one feedlot; Brookings, 4; Hamlin, 600 from a 1,500-head lot, plus others; Codington, 100 head; Lyman, 100 head; Hutchinson, 45 cows and 20 calves after moving to a new pasture, plus 15 fed cattle; Deuel, 22 head; Miner, 15 head. Yankton County reported producers marketing fat cattle at 1,200 pounds, versus normal marketing at 1,400 pounds. By Thursday, Daly added another 80 head to Hamlin County's losses; Marshall, 26; and 28 feeder calves and dairy cows in the area.

South Dakota faced similar conditions in 2007, when an estimated 2,800 head were lost due to extreme weather. "I have heard from Extension educators that some of the feedlots that experienced large losses in 2007 came through this stretch with very few problems because they installed sprinkler systems and made other management changes," Daly said.

Both Oedekoven and Daly had only anecdotal knowledge of weather-related death loss in surrounding states, including a few cases in North Dakota, and more feedlot-related issues in Minnesota and Nebraska.

Nebraska state veterinarian Dennis Hughes said producers in that state had lost cattle due to extreme weather, but he didn't have any estimate. "Rendering facilities are running at full-capacity," he noted.

Producers who have lost cattle due to weather-related incidents are urged to contact their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) to report losses. FSA's Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) program provides benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather that occurred between January 2008 and Oct. 1, 2011, including losses because of hurricanes, floods, blizzards, disease, wildfires, extreme heat and extreme cold.

Producers need to notify FSA offices within 30 days after the loss for partial reimbursement of their losses. The reimbursement amount for those eligible for LIP is based on market value and weight of livestock.

monitor heat stress potential u.s. at www.ars.usda.gov/main/docs.htm?docid=21306.


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Tri-State Livestock News Updated Aug 14, 2012 04:03PM Published Jul 22, 2011 11:09AM Copyright 2011 Tri-State Livestock News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.