Blizzard Kills Thousands Of Washington Dairy Cows

February 12, 2019 04:25 PM
 
Dairy farmers in multiple dairying regions of Idaho and Washington experienced significant snowfall, high winds and extreme cold over the weekend, leaving nearly 2,000 dairy cows dead.

Dairy farmers in multiple dairying regions of Idaho and Washington experienced significant snowfall, high winds and extreme cold over the weekend, leaving nearly 2,000 dairy cows dead.

According to Matt Gould of Rice Dairy, initial reports from their customers included words like “catastrophic” and “extreme” when it came to describing the impact the snow had on their open lot dairies.

“We heard anecdotes from farmers ranging from losses totaling 100 cows to thousands,” he said. “We also heard some milk was dumped because of logistical issues during the storms.”

The Yakima Valley Dairy Association says their members lost 1,600 cows in just a few days. The large snowfalls occurred in Grand and Franklin Counties.

While there is no way to accurately confirm the change in cow numbers for all of the dairy farmers impacted, Gould says their analysts estimate the storm removed 1,000 to 2,000 cows from the national herd.

As with the historic New Mexico Blizzard which killed more than 20,000 cows, the storm caused devastation on some farms.

 “These have been the worst few days of my life,” an area farmer told KIMA news. “We’re just devastated. I don’t think we’ve ever been hit with weather like this.”

Another employee described the measures they are taking to protect the cows the best they can.

“Without our employees, there’s no way we, or our cows could survive this storm,” Alyssa Haak, a dairy farmer in Prosser told the local station. “To shield our cows from the wind we stacked straw bales to create a windbreak for our cows. I give a lot of credit to our milk truck drivers, too. Without their bravery, we wouldn’t be able to get our milk off the farm.”

Despite all of the loss, because the snowfalls were not more widespread, Gould says the event will have a very limited impact on the markets.

Meanwhile producers in the region are preparing for another wave of winter storms to come their way.

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Comments

 
Spell Check

Boo
Great falls , MT
2/13/2019 08:51 PM
 

  Article is lacking facts I’m curious about and others reading the comments. What weather conditions did they have to face? How long did they have to deal with it? Has there been this type of impact before? What did the drivers do special? How many owners lost stock? How big of an area did this storm effect? This seems to be a bear minimum article. Why not put some details in so maybe other producers can be informed and learn from this story.

 
 
Jan
Harrah, WA
2/14/2019 09:07 AM
 

  These are factory dairy farms where I have seen some of them feeding rotten fruit, onions, cotton seed by products to dairy cows. Many of these cows have life spans of 4 years because they milk them to death. I have driven around this area and seen dairy cows standing in liquid manure with no dry place to stand or lay down . They try to claim they are small family farms; they are not. They are major factory farms looking for a government hand out to pay for their stupidity.

 
 
Dave
Auburn, IN
2/12/2019 09:50 PM
 

  As a farmer and dairyman myself, I can't understand how you can lose dairy cows to winter weather, we never did

 
 

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