|Montana feedlot operator Jake Feddes sent Bloomberg this photo of calves with ears taped to prevent freezing|
Oklahoma Agriculture Commissioner Blayne Arthur summed it up for Bunge: “Mother Nature is a really tough business partner, and she has been pretty unforgiving here the past few days.”
For Reuters, Tom Polansek reports from Texas, the state perhaps worst hit by the extreme weather, and the No. 1 cattle state. Newborn calves "are particularly vulnerable to the shock of the cold when they leave their mothers’ warm wombs covered in fluid," he noted. "Struggles to care for surviving livestock are the latest challenges for ranchers who over the past year have dealt with Covid-19 cutting demand for meat at restaurants and shuttering slaughterhouses."
Polansek reports, "Ranchers said they are spending long, cold hours breaking up ice in water tanks and on frozen ponds so animals have something to drink. Icy conditions have turned diesel fuel into a useless gel in tractors. Ranchers said they are using gasoline-powered pickup trucks to transport hay that cattle can eat and use for warm bedding."
|U.S. Department of Agriculture map shows major cattle counties in dark green; for a larger version, click on it.|