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KayDee Gilkey The Economic Impact of Wolves
by KayDee Gilkey, click here for bio

Program: Land & Livestock Report
Date: May 01, 2015

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Imagine losing  $40,000 a year in your business, due to something beyond your control to change. How long could you remain in business?John Williams, Oregon State University Extension Specialist in Wallowa County, has been a part of an ongoing study that says that the losses for a 100 cow-calf pair beef operation equals about $40,000 a year. That would represent the loss of the unseen consequences and costs of running cattle in wolf areas — not the depredation costs.Williams continues with more details

Williams: “ There are a lot of other economic impacts on the cattle that are not the dead cow that are more expensive and much, much more devastating to the rancher. And there are a variety of those. One of those is that the cattle come in poorer condition in the fall. So the cows are at a body condition score 4 and they should be at 5. That means that they are about 90 pound light than they should be and it is expensive to bring them up. The cows don’t breed back as well — it is almost a 10 percent reduction in the conception rate. Then we also have lighter calves’ weaning weights. Then the management ability of being able to use dogs with moving our livestock. You can’t use them after they get in an issue with wolves as they tend to fight the dogs instead of moving like they should. So, some of those are really devastating costs and more important than the dead livestock that we find.”

He adds that according to an Oakley study out of Idaho only one in eight animals that are killed by wolves.

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