Extreme heat and humidity, coupled with no wind in southwestern Kansas resulted in significant cattle loss in feedlots. Scarlett Hagins, Vice President for Communications with the Kansas Livestock Association, Scarlett, says the conditions detoured over the weekend, starting Friday, June 10.
“Really, that Friday leading into Saturday, they just saw a pretty rapid increase in temperature, about ten to 14 degrees almost overnight increase in temperature. No wind, high humidity high, the lows only falling to around 70 degrees overnight, and that nighttime is really when cattle release some of their heat load, and when those temperatures stay that high overnight, they really can’t do that. And all of that, combined in a short amount of time, led to some heat stress issues and those cattle, they didn’t have time to acclimate during that short amount of time period.”
In the western counties of Kansas, Hagins says cattle are accustomed to the heat, but not humidity.
“Cattle don’t handle humidity as well. In a shortchange. They can acclimate to almost anything if you give them a little time, but that rapid increase in humidity really impacts them pretty harshly, and they’re not used to that. In that portion of the state, it’s normally a dry heat, if you will. And so, when you when you have that rapid increase in temperature and that high humidity and really not getting to cool off at night, impacts them, because that heat load just phase with them from day after day after day.”
While the Kansas Livestock Association cannot disclose any numbers, indications from feedlot consultants and some of the media reports from places such as DTN and Drovers show that up to 10,000 head of cattle died over this last weekend because of the heat.