Page 6 - MWC 02-25-2021s
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Winter Storm Impacts Cattle,                                                             The Midwest Cattleman · February 25, 2021 · P6

                 Cowboys and Markets

                            By Derrell Peel - Oklahoma State University
         A massive and extended  provide water and feed access for  ice ahead
      winter blast has engulfed the  cattle.  These conditions require  of       snow,
      southern plains before spread- near continuous efforts to chop        producing
      ing across much of the Delta and  ice and provide feed.  Cattle nu- more dan-
      mid-south then ultimately affect- tritional requirements are sharp- gerous hy-
      ing most of the eastern half of the  ly boosted in this weather and  pothermia
      country.                           producers must consider both the  conditions
         The extended cold tempera- quantity and quality of feed.           typical
      tures began a week ago with           Cattle will not be physically  of winter
      most of Oklahoma already en- able to consume enough medi- storms in
      during  continuous  sub-freezing  um to low quality hay to provide  the south.                          percent last week with lower de-
      temperatures for 150 to over  sufficient energy in these condi-         This storm is likely ahead of   mand more than offsetting sharp-
      200 hours as of Monday morning  tions and must receive additional  most  calving  in  Oklahoma  but     ly reduced sales volumes.  Wheat
      (February 15).  Temperatures in  supplement or high-quality hay.   if calving is in progress, the ex-   pasture cattle and other stockers
      early  week  are  reaching  record  In  some cases, deep  snow may  treme cold is a significant risk.    are  no  doubt  experiencing  re-
      sub-zero  levels  with  wind  chill  prevent cattle from accessing  Newborn calves can experience       duced gains or even weight loss
      values of -25 to -30 degrees Fahr- standing forage, especially since  frozen  ears  and  tails,  marking   in these conditions.  Many cattle
      enheit.                            Oklahoma cattle are not used to  them for life as a cold weather     grazing dual-purpose wheat will
         Temperatures are expected  foraging through snow.                  survivor.    These calves are fre-  need to be removed and market-
      to remain below freezing for at       If  there  is  a  silver  lining  in  quently discounted at marketing   ed in the next two to three weeks,
      least another 100 hours.   Snow  this storm, it is that conditions  due to buyer fears of foot damage   very likely a bit lighter in weight
      totals of four to ten inches have  are cold but relatively dry.  The  and other injuries that may im-   than expected.
      accumulated with more snow ex- snow that has fallen has not, for  pact the calves later in life.  Once     Feedlot cattle are no doubt im-
      pected mid-week.  This storm is  the  most  part,  penetrated  the  calves are dry and feeding, they    pacted as well and the market ef-
      unprecedented in Oklahoma due  hair coat of cattle keeping the  can endure the cold, dry weath-         fects will be apparent over time.
      to both the record cold tempera- hide dry.  With adequate feed  er pretty well and may, in fact,        Reduced performance will show
      tures and the duration of cold.  and water, cattle can handle this  be insulated by dry fluffy snow     up as lower carcass weights in
      I’m having flashbacks to my for- type of cold weather relatively  when bedded down.                     the coming weeks. The residual
      mative years caring for cattle in  well.  These conditions are more     Several auction markets in      impacts of this historic weather
      Montana winters.                   typical of the central and north- Oklahoma and other areas closed    event will likely effect cattle mar-
         The brunt of the storm im- ern plains and Rocky Mountain  last week and many will be closed          kets for several weeks.
      pacts are directly borne by cattle  areas.  Areas  south and east  of  this week.  Oklahoma feeder cat-
      producers who are struggling to  Oklahoma are receiving rain and  tle prices dropped three to ten
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