As this heat wave sweeps across the country, even the cattle are struggling.
According to the New York Post, at least 2,000 cattle in Kansas have passed away recently, due to extreme temperatures that have exceeded 100 degrees.
This is a major blow to the US cattle industry, as farmers are already struggling due to drought and extremely high prices for feed here recently, due to inflation, supply chain issues, and the war between Russia and Ukraine that has put a chokehold on global grain supplies.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment know of 2,000 deaths, but that number could be even higher, as those were the only deaths that had been called in as of Tuesday.
Kansas is the third largest cattle state in America with 2.4 million cattle, only behind Texas and Nebraska.
Scarlett Hagins, a spokesperson for the Kansas Livestock Association, said that cattle began to struggle over the dramatic heat spike this past weekend in western Kansas, with no cooling winds in sight. She said it was incredibly difficult for the cattle to adapt to that kind of drastic change in weather.
AJ Tarpoff, a beef extension veterinarian for Kansas State University said:
“It was essentially a perfect storm.”
Drew Lerner of World Weather Inc. said temperatures reached up to 108 degrees in northwest Kansas by Monday, and this weekend, temperatures in western Kansas and the Texas Panhandle could reach as high as 110, but stronger winds and lower humidity will help minimize cattle deaths.
“It’s going to be oppressively hot and stressful for the animals.”
In order to keep cattle alive, ranchers are doubling up on the water supply and constantly checking on their health.
Brenda Masek, president of the industry association Nebraska Cattlemen, added:
“You can’t say, ‘Oh I checked them three days ago.’ When it gets hot, you’ve got to be out every day and making sure that their water is maintained.”