Texas Blizzard Impact Will Bring Total to 40,000 Lost Southwest Dairy Cattle

December 31, 2015 11:14 AM

By Lucas Sjostrom

“Keep ‘em in your prayers,” asked Darren Turley, executive director of the Texas Association of Dairymen on Thursday. He was referring to the Southwest dairies suffering from Winter Storm Goliath.

Four days after what is possibly the worst storm on record for cattle in the area, operations are returning to normal. The storm rolled into the Clovis, N.M., and Lubbock, Texas, region Saturday evening and was gone by Monday morning.

But the 22” inches of snow paired with wind gusts, some reaching over 60 miles per hour, was too much for many cattle, and proved impossible for some dairies to continue operating at the time. The uncharacteristic weather was to the extreme for the High Plains region.

Turley said one area farmer recalled that he was in his 34th year of dairying there, and occasionally started milking late due to weather, but never missed one. Last weekend, that farmer missed 1.5 days of milking. Turley said many farms missed one or more milkings on Sunday, with some also missing Saturday evening or Monday morning.

At some locations, the National Guard came in to shut down roads, ensuring no milk was moved from one area to another. Turley expects a small bump in price due to a lack of milk and cheese being delivered, but losses from storm deaths, lingering health issues, and future losses – potentially big as snow melts and makes for muddy conditions – will be far greater.

Read more at www.DairyHerd.com.

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Spell Check

East Central, WI
1/6/2016 09:33 AM

  Coonhound...in situations like this, some people will try to get to their destination no matter what. And the risk for stranded motorists is high, with no way to reach them to help. So they likely shut the roads down to prevent people from being stranded, including milk truck drivers. Plus, many dairies are far away from these towns. With high winds, the roads drift shut and there are reports of 80 mph winds and 10' and higher drifts. They are not equipped in these areas to deal with this much snow. So they likely shut the roads down to protect the people from their own decisions. Either way, milk trucks would not have been able to get to the farms. Some dairy operators report they couldn't even get anyone to their facilities to milk the cows, much less dig the cows out and get them into the milking center. Very good question though...

ne, IA
1/7/2016 09:00 AM

  Are there any indications on numbers of Beef Cattle Lost? It sounds like a similar situation to South Dakota a Couple years Ago

panhandle , TX
1/1/2016 07:00 PM

  Jim, apparently you've never been to the south here and experienced our climate. If we would have all our cattle in barns you would be screaming to let them out of the barn because of animal cruelty! If you would of had a free stall barn during the blizzard mostly likely it would of been full of snow and all cattle would of suffocated! A blizzard in Wisconsin is totally different than here (yes I know cause I lived up in our backyard ). Blizzards down here always come with high winds, and as a result huge snowdrifts. I've seen places where you could walk up on the snowdrift and end up on top of the milk parlor! And it has nothing to do with the size of the dairy, if it were 20 dairies with 100 cows or 1 with 2000 the number of animals per dairy would be smaller on the 100 cow dairies but percentage wise a lot higher because the large dairies have enough hired hands to keep loaders and tractors running 24/7 tring to keep up with the snow.


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