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Our Cattle are Dying - Kansas

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Jun 15, 2022 - 9:02:58 AM
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rinemb

USA

14737 posts since 5/24/2005

I just returned home from another field job in Western Kansas. Many folks are not aware that Kansas is a BIG cattle State. Plenty of pasture, plenty of feed lots, plenty of meat processing facilities. Well, For the last week +/- the daytime temps were peaking at 100*F and the night time temps were not cooling of enough. Since I am up through much of the night, on the job, I can tell you it was hot and muggy!
So, the cattle die. By the thousands. The rendering trucks can't haul them off fast enough so the carcasses pile up and begin to rot. I was near Dodge City on this job. Lots of cattle, many dead.
Your nice steak may cost even more soon...Though, good news, there are a lot of calves out there, from what I see.
Brad

Jun 15, 2022 - 9:07:24 AM
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Owen

Canada

11403 posts since 6/5/2011

Thanks for the info .... clicking "like" doesn't seem right.

Jun 15, 2022 - 9:16:33 AM

STUD

USA

36077 posts since 3/5/2008

Bovine farts did'em in...'eh..?

Jun 15, 2022 - 3:35:11 PM
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RV6

USA

1465 posts since 2/3/2012

I assume most of the dead cattle were in feedlots and the longer they're in the feedlot and the more weight they gain, the higher the danger.   Feedlots further south often use giant sprinkler systems and have shade.   I've seen wood lathe, snow fence mounted on wood frames in Texas and New Mexico feedlots for shade.

Range cattle: cows, bulls and calves are in less danger.   But, they darn sure need an adequet water supply, 24 hours a day.  Lots of range set ups have "dug outs" or dams as we did.  Of course, this is for drinking but the cattle will wade into a pond to cool off.   After too much of this, the water becomes less desireable to drink.   I spent a lot of time on our rangeland and oberved cattle cooling in the dugouts, walk a half mile, uphill to get a drink of fresh, clean water in one of our many 30 foot stock tanks.   I flew our 16 windmills in my 90 hp Super Cub, three times a week during hot spells to make sure the windmill's were pumping and if there was a problem, I got the well guy up there right away and, if there was a problem, I saddled up and we moved the cattle to a different pasture with a good water supply. 

I was in the cattle business for 30 some years and was the third generation in the business.   We had a 10,000 head feedlot in south central Nebraska.   We had a few summers where we lost fat cattle due to the heat and had a pile of dead animals waiting for the "dead truck".   Pretty darned depressing.  One of the reasons I got out of the feedlot business and went to grazing yearlings on pasture and later, a cow calf setup.  

I fed cattle in the Dodge City area and we bought a lot of cattle in Kansas to feed at our feedlot in NE.   I loved the cattle business back in the old days and the people we dealt with.  And, when things worked well, life was good.   Raging blizzards, various diseases that hit the cattle business and the consolidation of packer buyer's is the reason I quit.   I read awhile back that the 4 major Packer's were making 3-4 hundered dollars per head and they owned them for 2-3 days and made a profit on them all.   We cattle feeder's owned them for 120 days (for 750 lb. feeders put on feed and much longer for lighter weight animals placed on feed) and took what the packer's would pay us when the cattle were fat.   My dad said, around 1970, that if he could "net" $10.00/head, he was happy.   That would be $71.00, todaysad

Jun 15, 2022 - 5:12:10 PM
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Owen

Canada

11403 posts since 6/5/2011

I was only ever involved as a small mixed farming operation.  I generally was prepared to accept nature's vagaries....  a bit less so for man-made hurdles. It seemed to me that it was pretty rare when all facets of the beef industry did well at the same time ..... generally good times for one seemed to come at the expense of another, though being farther up the chain, the risk seemed to be reduced correspondingly.   Dunno whether or not my recollections are borne out by stats.

Jun 15, 2022 - 5:40:39 PM
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slammer

USA

3691 posts since 12/30/2008

While I love a good beef steak as much as the next guy and consider myself a meat eater, I feel very fortunate that I have fast meat (aka, Venison) right in my back yard and have an endless supply!!! My family and myself have a choice as money is not an issue……….yet, and actually prefer venison over beef for just about everything. Don’t get me wrong, We love a good prime rib or Ribeye once in a while, but it’s nice to fill the freezer for the cost of a license!!! I see the price of beef and hamburger at the stores and I shudder yet feel relief that we don’t have to rely on it.
I hate to see any animal suffer and die, especially when it is a food source and go to waste!!! Sorry to hear about this cattle issue!!!
Slammer!!!

Jun 15, 2022 - 5:48:59 PM
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kd8tzc

USA

392 posts since 4/11/2022

That's sad to hear... we haven't been buying much beef due to the cost, and I love a good steak. It seems like all food is going through the roof and it will only get worse before it's better. I agree with slammer though, as much as I love to eat meat, I hate to see them suffer.

Jun 15, 2022 - 6:35:29 PM
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rinemb

USA

14737 posts since 5/24/2005

I was not a cattleman, nor a cowboy. I did hire out on a small operation in Scott Co, Ks. A farm and feeder operation. A dirty business , but I learned a lot. Drove to all the windmills on a ranch this guy owned in Wallace Co. plugged holes in tanks, climbed to the crown in the Kansas wind, to lube and oil. But we/he rarely lost a feeder when I was there. And was too stupid to know why they died.
Brad

Jun 15, 2022 - 9:34:50 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

65103 posts since 10/5/2013

Sorry to hear that, I’ve delivered and picked up loads at the Cargill plant in Dodge City… we’ve finally got enough rain this spring up here in Alberta to end the 10 year drought conditions. Cattlemen here are pleased.

Jun 16, 2022 - 4:18:47 AM
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4729 posts since 12/6/2009

yeah,,,,thanks Brad for making my day brite and cherry......WTH? cattlemen dont have a clue how to prevent their cows from dying?????? wheres all the real cowboys gone? G,,,,damit

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Jun 16, 2022 - 4:37:37 AM

RV6

USA

1465 posts since 2/3/2012

quote:
Originally posted by rinemb

I was not a cattleman, nor a cowboy. I did hire out on a small operation in Scott Co, Ks. A farm and feeder operation. A dirty business , but I learned a lot. Drove to all the windmills on a ranch this guy owned in Wallace Co. plugged holes in tanks, climbed to the crown in the Kansas wind, to lube and oil. But we/he rarely lost a feeder when I was there. And was too stupid to know why they died.
Brad


Scott county.   You probably heard of Farleigh Feedyards.   We fed cattle there 50 some years ago. They were good people.
I took me two, 12 hour days to check windmills and mineral feeders and it beat the heck out of a pickup (and the driver) and was hard on the grass.   It took me less than an hour to do the job with my 90 hp Super Cub.   It burned 4 gallons per hour of car gas and was a blast to fly!   I could sometimes spot an animal that wasn't feeling well and occasionally landed to check them out.  I rode pens for 3 years (to check for sick cattle, cut them out and take them to the hospital pens and doctor) so I could often spot an animal in trouble.
Jun 16, 2022 - 6:49:20 AM
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rinemb

USA

14737 posts since 5/24/2005

quote:
Originally posted by RV6
quote:
Originally posted by rinemb

I was not a cattleman, nor a cowboy. I did hire out on a small operation in Scott Co, Ks. A farm and feeder operation. A dirty business , but I learned a lot. Drove to all the windmills on a ranch this guy owned in Wallace Co. plugged holes in tanks, climbed to the crown in the Kansas wind, to lube and oil. But we/he rarely lost a feeder when I was there. And was too stupid to know why they died.
Brad


Scott county.   You probably heard of Farleigh Feedyards.   We fed cattle there 50 some years ago. They were good people.
I took me two, 12 hour days to check windmills and mineral feeders and it beat the heck out of a pickup (and the driver) and was hard on the grass.   It took me less than an hour to do the job with my 90 hp Super Cub.   It burned 4 gallons per hour of car gas and was a blast to fly!   I could sometimes spot an animal that wasn't feeling well and occasionally landed to check them out.  I rode pens for 3 years (to check for sick cattle, cut them out and take them to the hospital pens and doctor) so I could often spot an animal in trouble.

Sure have heard and been around that feed yard.  Another bit of claimed trivia...Scott County, Ks is the largest cattle population in Kansas. Huge feed operations throughout the southern half of the county.  I have spent much oil field time in and around them. My work is better in the winter...no flies.

I worked for a "Swede" named Burl Minix.  That's how the locals referred to him.  My, how his wife could cook.  Lunch always was a smorgasbord of beef steaks and potatoes, fresh baked bread, and salads, all you could eat. To get you refueled for the afternoon projects and chores.

Worst jobs always came my way. such as on the team working a manual squeeze chute.  I got to drop the bar and throw the chain wrap.  Not fun if the other guy stuck with the branding iron, before I got his head and neck secured.

Brad

Jun 16, 2022 - 6:55:59 AM
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rinemb

USA

14737 posts since 5/24/2005

quote:
Originally posted by chuckv97

Sorry to hear that, I’ve delivered and picked up loads at the Cargill plant in Dodge City… we’ve finally got enough rain this spring up here in Alberta to end the 10 year drought conditions. Cattlemen here are pleased.


Yep, drive by it to my jobs about every month or so.

Since the "Boot Hill Distillery" opened up a few years back, I go there, and not the casino. They have a bar at the distillery for events and imbibations. The Distillery is winning all kinds of awards, for their young bourbons and whiskys. They also produce gin and vodka (wheat) because they don't need age.  Those are winning awards as well.  I would not have a clue how you rate a vodka.  The people I know drink it, because it has no flavor.

I am following their wheated bourbon, since they first put it out. Its interesting to taste each years bottling-with a bit more age.  I think, by the time they hold back some barrels, some 7-yo would be upper shelf.  they are going to great lengths to produce top quality barrel storage.

Brad

Jun 16, 2022 - 9:11:12 AM
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banjo bill-e

Tuvalu

12360 posts since 2/22/2007

No conspiracy stuff here, just asking a simple question: do cattle routinely die after a few days in the 100s? Like, these temps have never happened before? I ask because I have never heard of such a thing before. I am seeing photos online of piles of dead cattle, in a time with record high beef prices, and all of these steers just fell over dead from the heat? Why now and not last heat wave, or the ones before that?

Jun 16, 2022 - 10:18:26 AM
Players Union Member

rinemb

USA

14737 posts since 5/24/2005

Bill-e,
The educated or experienced answer is above my wheel house. But speculating, water resources get more limited. With this heat front, the nights have remained too warm to recover from the stress of the day.
But since folks are dying in the deserts presently. I guess cattle can too.
Can you imagine that, folks that spend too much time in the desert die. Well that is certainly news to me! The more people that enter the desert in summer, the more that people will expire. Same with cattle. I guess if it were just a tad cooler, they might live another hour or so. Sad for sure. And a shame. I best not say more. Brad

Jun 16, 2022 - 10:45:12 AM

RV6

USA

1465 posts since 2/3/2012

quote:
Originally posted by banjo bill-e

No conspiracy stuff here, just asking a simple question: do cattle routinely die after a few days in the 100s? Like, these temps have never happened before? I ask because I have never heard of such a thing before. I am seeing photos online of piles of dead cattle, in a time with record high beef prices, and all of these steers just fell over dead from the heat? Why now and not last heat wave, or the ones before that?


The cattle in the feedlot that are dying would be the fattest ones ready for sale.   Just like humans, cattle don't do well in the heat if they're overweight.   They gain little weight when it's extremely hot, as well, which is a giant economic impact.  

Cattle in the south generally have a bit of Brahma blood in their genetics because they are more tolerant of the heat.  They're "thinner skinned" so are better for hot climates.   They don't do well in the winter up north like Nebraska and the packer's used to discriminate against them back when I was in the business.

Jun 17, 2022 - 4:48:34 AM
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rinemb

USA

14737 posts since 5/24/2005

I just looked at weather forecast, out 10 days. 0 rain, temps 98-102 . More cattle will suffer!
Wheat harvest will go full bore in Kansas. Away from the City, there is always a buzz in the air, an extra step in folks feet during harvest. Grain trucks backed up 24/7 at the grain elevators, folks around the community table at the cafes talking and bragging about their moisture levels and bushels per acre! We (the world) are going to need it , with the Ukraine bread basket under fire.

Jun 17, 2022 - 6:46:01 AM

chuckv97

Canada

65103 posts since 10/5/2013

Canada’s prairie provinces have had lots of rain this spring,, the grain harvest should be bumper crop, if all goes well. Back in the day the region was called one of the breadbaskets of the world. 
And as a side note...

https://modernfarmer.com/2020/02/in-a-warming-world-canada-could-become-a-breadbasket-but-not-without-costs/


 

Edited by - chuckv97 on 06/17/2022 06:57:27

Jun 17, 2022 - 7:12:40 AM
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Owen

Canada

11403 posts since 6/5/2011

This report, albeit from a source that we know sometimes misleads us wink, paints a less rosy picture [while I acknowledge that big changes in conditions can occur rapidly, and you have included the qualifier "if"]: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/slow-seeding-driving-concerns-2022-crop-yields-1.6477319

While in Brandon a week and a half back I overheard a couple of guys solving world problems. One, which I took to be from MB, was commenting on the excessive moisture causing delayed seeding [in several areas of the province], while the other, who I took to be from S.E. SK said that they and a lot of others across southern parts of the province could "use some rain."    Otoh, you probably know that it's almost unheard of for a farmer to admit that everything's hunky-dory.

I can't find a link, but I've also heard reports that some farmers [relatively few I assume] have decided not to seed this year, primarily due to high input costs.  I don't get their logic, unless they opted to rent out their land instead.

Jun 17, 2022 - 8:16:25 PM
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rinemb

USA

14737 posts since 5/24/2005

Update on local news tonight. An expert said the cattle death were due to a “perfect storm.” The combination of very high temperatures, extremely high humidity (from extended rain period), and little wind.
Brad

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