Extreme cold and calving

Extreme cold and calving

David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
One issue with the impacts of the bitter cold on calves and lambs is the timing. This did hit still in winter, so we were quite early in the calving lambing season as we looked at the numbers, you know, ranging from three to less than 20 percent of the animals had been born at this point in the season. That was USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey. What is more typical that we have seen in recent years, in the past, or more localized snowstorms that hit later in the year? So if you get big March and April storms that hit more in the midst of the Lamming and calving season, that could be extreme on a local level. So, for example, we've seen a couple of big storms in recent years across the central high plains, eastern Colorado, western Kansas. So, again, although the scale of the cold weather was extensive, if you look at the overall percentages of young animals out there, it could have been a lot worse. A cold outbreak in snowstorms like this had hit a few weeks from now and we're deeper into the cabin and lambing season.

The bitter cold has had an impact on young livestock. We're just starting to enter the calving and lambing season across the Great Plains. That was USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey. And based on information reported by USDA and asked for the weekend in February 21st of the states that are reporting, we see calving ranging from three percent of the animals in Montana to 14 percent in New Mexico. NASS numbers show a similar picture for lambing, with three percent in Montana to 19 percent in New Mexico. And that's in particular where the struggle has been trying to keep those young animals alive as they have been hit by cold that they, of course, never have been exposed to. And on the southern plains, where they were also hit with the double whammy of the bitter cold and the back to back snowstorms, he says power outages and water shortages exacerbated the difficulties, but he adds that conditions have improved.

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