The meat industry is taking a heavy hit as thousands of cattle have died from heat and humidity in Kansas.
A video of thousands of cattle lying dead is being spread on social media with very little context and causing a lot of speculation.
— Federico Orozco – Líder Climático – (@Fomouret) June 14, 2022
Kansas is the third-largest cattle state, behind Texas and Nebraska, with 2.4 million heads of cattle in feed lots.
Recent droughts and rising feed costs have forced some producers to reduce the number in their herds, so the additional loss is a hit to an already hurting industry.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment knew of at least 2,000 cattle deaths due to high temperatures and humidity as of Tuesday, spokesperson Matthew Lara said. The toll represents facilities that contacted the agency for help disposing of carcasses, he said…
…Temperatures reached 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 degrees Celsius) in northwest Kansas by Monday, said Drew Lerner, president of World Weather Inc. This weekend, parts of western Kansas and the Texas panhandle will near 110 degrees, though stronger winds and lower humidity levels will help minimize cattle deaths, he said.
Videos like this one are spreading on social media platforms claiming that the reason for the sudden deaths was unknown.
🇺🇸 On a ranch in the southwest of the state of Kansas alone, more than 3,000 cattle suddenly fell dead last weekend. According to the farmers, there is no plausible explanation for this mass extinction. Cases like this are currently accumulating in the USA. pic.twitter.com/tj6vZ9uNGq
— Agent J (@YouMayCallMeJay) June 15, 2022
While it’s tempting to view this incident as suspicious along with the sudden reporting on fires and “accidents” in food processing plants and warehouses, — especially when a certain billionaire has invested heavily in farmland and is really pushing for synthetic meat (see this helpful Twitter thread) — but heat stress in cattle in June is a known concern.
Heat stress in June is not uncommon. The days get longer, things heat up, humidity rises and producers experience the perfect storm for herd loss. Without the ability to cool off during these shorter, hotter evenings, the heat load can become too much for livestock.
Fat cattle, those who still are carrying some of their summer hair, and cattle who have suffered respiratory illness are the most susceptible to heat stress.
Source: AG Daily
Social media posts accompanying the video claim that anywhere from 2,000 to as many as 10,000 cows have suddenly dropped dead.
Beef Magazine examined the issue and spoke to some experts on the ground to suss out what is actually going on.
Kansas Livestock Association Vice President of Communications Scarlett Hagins says KLA cannot confirm or deny the video that’s making the rounds. She says KLA does not know if it was shot in a feed yard in Kansas, or elsewhere, and the date of the footage.
They do however have confirmed reports from member feed yards of higher than normal death losses due to an extraordinary heat wave event in western Kansas over the weekend of June 10-12.
This came after an unseasonably cool month of May with temperatures dipping into the low 30s on some days. The cattle simply didn’t have time to acclamate to the high June temperatures.
It wasn’t just the extreme heat that was the problem, it was also high humidity and no wind which is unusual for the area.
According to veterinarian Miles Theurer, Research Director for Veterinary Research and Consulting Services, based in Hays, Kan., market-ready cattle, with a high percentage of empty body fat, didn’t have ample time to acclimate from those low temperatures to the high temperature spikes.
“The weather event was the perfect storm, resulting in significant issues for the feedlot industry,” Theurer says.
In addition to the high heat, there was also higher than normal relative humidity in the area, with no wind speed, he said. The Mesonet shows winds averaged 5 mph over the course of the weekend, with relative humidity averaging 44.9% to 69.6%. The High Plains typically have more wind and lower humidity, allowing cattle to cool themselves better. There just wasn’t a time when the temperatures dropped enough to dissipate the heat and it accumulated adding to the stress, Theurer says.
One thing that seems to be really bothering some people online is the way that the cattle have been gathered together in the video, but this is standard practice.
There has to be an accounting for every head that leaves the yard, whether on a truck to the processing plant or on the truck to the rendering plant. This is a business.
Theurer says typically feed yards will go through and remove dead cattle from pens and place them in areas where they can be accessed by the rendering truck. Cattle may be sent to rendering plants or to landfills if permitted, or to compost sites—all of which are properly documented and determined in advance of any need.
In a large event like this, veterinarians will have to do necropsies to determine likely cause of death, Theurer says, for insurance and indemnity program documentation. Animal IDs will be recorded for the accounting department.
Source: Beef Magazine
While it’s pretty strange that this is all happening while we’re dealing with supply chain issues and the rising cost of everything while the elites insist we move away from meat consumption and eat bugs… sometimes it’s not a grand conspiracy. It’s just nature.
Still, this situation won’t make your summer BBQ any cheaper.
Brace yourselves for higher costs for steaks and burgers.