Snow Blizzard kills more than 30,000 dairy cows in Texas, New Mexico (numbers could climb higher)
Categories: On The Farm
Dairy producers in West Texas and eastern New Mexico are continuing to assess how many animals died in the winter storm last weekend, but the number will probably climb to more than 30,000, an official with a dairy group said Thursday.
A statement obtained by Breitbart Texas from the Texas Association of Dairymen (TAD) says that the winter storm named Goliath “hit hard at the heart of the Texas dairy industry.”
The reduction in the state’s milk supply, and dairy and other financial losses, as well as the emotional impact on farmers of losing their animals, is enormous, says TAD Executive Director Darren Turley.
Turley said it wasn’t until Tuesday that many dairy producers in the area largely impacted by the storms – from Lubbock west to Muleshoe, Texas, and north to Friona – could gauge the impact by surveying their property.
Turley says that the region includes half of the state’s top ten milk producing counties which amounts to about 36 percent of the Lone Star state’s dairy cows – an estimated 142,800 cows. Turley estimates that about five percent of the mature dairy cows, and a yet-undetermined heifers and calves were killed. He expects losses to climb as farmers are able to survey the damage.
Texas Association of Dairymen executive director Darren Turley also said an estimated 15,000 mature dairy cows died in the storm's primary impact area — from Lubbock west to Muleshoe and north to Friona which is home to half of the state's top-10 milk producing counties and produces 40 per cent of the state's milk.
An agent with New Mexico State University's extension service told Turley the area around Clovis, New Mexico, lost an estimated 20,000 dairy cows.
The number of younger animals killed by Winter Storm Goliath in each state could be just as high as the mature cows, he said.
There will be less milk coming from the region for a while, Turley said,
The snow was just one part of Goliath. It was the wind that led to drifts as high as 14 feet, where many animals died. Wind will push animals into a fenced corner where they can suffocate in snow drifts.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime (storm)," Turley said. "It's a bad deal for producers."
The losses will affect production for about year, he said.
During the storm dairy employees and tanker trucks from reaching farms. Hundreds of loads of milk ready for processing were wasted. Some cows normally milked twice a day went almost two days without being milked, which dries up the cows' milk supply, Turley said.