There has been a major storm related disaster for the dairy production industry in South West USA.
Approximately 35,000 cows have perished in a huge blizzard / storm called Goliath. It is thought that another 20,000 plus will have to be euthanized due to frost bitten teats! These are issues that are not experienced in Australia.
It is sobering to think that this is equal to the total dairy cow population of Western Australia but only accounts for approximately 0.5% of the USA herd according to USDA statistics.
While devastating to those involved, with immediate losses due to milk being dumped. It will also reduce annual milk volumes and cause local shortages and the associated costs to processing operations, including export focused operations which are located in the South West States of the USA.
It will be interesting to see the outcomes of this as existing farms will have to prepare for future incidences such as this as well as dealing with the desert heat in the summer months.
Our thoughts are with the producers who have to deal with the loss of income and the serious issue of how to dispose of a huge number of cattle in a short time.
While it is hard to know if there would have been any benefit if the cows were free range as the original inhabitants of the areas (bison as shown in the featured image who were photographed in the early 1900’s and featured on page 114 of “History of Texas; Fort Worth and the Texas northwest edition” (1922)) were, but it is reported that many cows were buried by snow and suffocated by the freak storm.