Texas blizzard kills 15,000 cows

January 4, 2016
A freak blizzard has killed at least 15,000 dairy cows in Texas, officials say
A freak blizzard has killed at least 15,000 dairy cows in Texas, officials say

A freak blizzard killed at least 15,000 dairy cows in the US state of Texas and for almost two days kept farmers from milking some of those that survived, officials said Monday.

The brutal winter storm dumped on the northern part of Texas on December 26. Farmers have not yet fully assessed the damage.

"They're still trying to dig out, but at least it stopped snowing," Kirsten Voinis, a spokeswoman for the Texas Association of Dairymen, told AFP.

Texas ranchers typically let their cows graze in pastures rather keeping them locked up in barns. The storm hit too suddenly for them to get their cows inside.

The association estimates that the storm killed about ten percent of mature in the region. It does not yet have an estimate as to how many calves and heifers were killed.

Safely disposing of the carcasses will be a major challenge.

"We usually send them to rendering, but we're not sure if rendering will be able to handle a number this big," Voinis said.

"We're trying to figure out if there's wintering capacity, or if we do have to bury them. That opens up other issues... and how it impacts your land."

Many of the surviving cows will also likely give less for months to come. They are typically milked twice a day, but the bad roads and blowing snow meant were unable to get some cows into their barns to be milked for as much as two days.

The brutal winter storm dumped heavy snow on the northern part of Texas on December 26
The brutal winter storm dumped heavy snow on the northern part of Texas on December 26

"When a dairy cow goes that long without being milked, her milk supply starts to dry up," Darren Turley, executive director of the Texas Association of Dairymen, said in a statement.

"That means the dairy cows in this region will give less milk for months to come. Less milk going to market will be felt by consumers, as well as by ."

Explore further: Low levels of blood calcium in dairy cows may affect cow health and productivity, study finds

Related Stories

Mixed feeding trialled for more milk

February 12, 2014

For the past 18 months dairy farms in Western Australia have been taking part in trials to determine if a partial mixed ration (PMR) system in pasture-based dairying is cost effective.

Research to enhance fertility of New Zealand dairy cows

November 7, 2014

An expert in the field of reproductive biology, Dr Janet Pitman from Victoria's School of Biological Sciences, says dairy cows worldwide have become less fertile—partly due to farmers selecting cows for high yields of milk. ...

Robots take root on smaller dairy farms, upping production

September 12, 2015

Robots have taken up residence at some small- and medium-sized dairy farms across the country, providing reliable and more efficient labor and helping the businesses remain viable. Plus, farmers say, the milking technology ...

Recommended for you

Monsoon intensity enhanced by heat captured by desert dust

July 28, 2016

Variations in the ability of sand particles kicked into the atmosphere from deserts in the Middle East to absorb heat can change the intensity of the Indian Summer Monsoon, according to new research from The University of ...

Keep a lid on it: Geologists probe geological carbon storage

July 28, 2016

Effective carbon capture and storage or "CCS" in underground reservoirs is one possible way to meet ambitious climate change targets demanded by countries and international partnerships around the world. But are current technologies ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.