Livestock producers fight heat and drought trying to keep cattle alive
By Ross Caniglia, Multimedia Journalist/ Weekend Meteorologist - bio | email
MOVILLE, Iowa (KTIV) -
The National Weather Service says heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States. And it's taking its toll on livestock.
"We want to maintain our cow herd. We think down the road, in the next several years, that'll be a very valuable thing for us to do," said Al Pithan, Woodbury County Cattlemen's Association member.
Al Pithan is helping out at the Woodbury County fair these days, to keep cattle in good condition.
He's already lost livestock this year.
One of the challenges in this hot drought, keep them fed.
"We need those cattle to gain 3 lbs a day plus. When we get into a month like July, where the intakes are so low, it really affects our production," said Pithan.
For the first time this year, Pithan says that he's running out of grass.
The remedy, replace it with hay, but even that could go by the wayside.
"Hay's going to be very tight supply. So, in the past, we have not cut silage. We have not chopped corn for silage," said Pithan.
There's also the challenge of keeping the livestock cool. He says his solution is water.
"We have sprinklers. We have timed sprinklers in each pen that we'll run," said Pithan.
For Pithan, taking all the extra precautions means more money is spent.
But despite his efforts, concerns remain about what will happen if dry and hot weather continues.
"Our livelihood is in the cattle business. Feed supply is going to be very low and very spendy. Of course, other than the initial price of our cattle, that is our biggest cost. So no question, it'll have an effect," said Pithan.
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