Some reports of cattle deaths from this week’s extreme heat in Iowa are beginning to be reported.
Dal Grooms, with the Iowa Cattleman’s Association, says, compared to other livestock, cows have an especially difficult time dealing with high temperatures, heavy humidity and a lack of wind.
“Cattle don’t sweat like some livestock do, the rely completely on respiration,” Grooms explained. “If you’ve walked outside, you know it’s really hard to breathe. Well, it’s really, really hard to breathe for those cattle.”
It’s not clear how many cattle have died in Iowa this week, but Grooms says it can happen despite producers best efforts to provide shade, extra water and sprinkling systems.
“We know in South Dakota they’ve had 1,000 to 1,500 cattle lost to this heat,” Grooms said. “It looks like (the hot weather) is going to continue for a couple more days, so we really want people to focus on what they can do to keep those animals alive through this sort of situation.” Farmers can be reimbursed for animals lost in severe weather, including losses due to heat.
But, Grooms says producers need to keep accurate records and show what measures they took to protect their livestock. “They need to be taking photographs, document what’s happened, record the weights of those cattle and getting third party verification as to what has happened,” Grooms said.
A “notice of loss” report should be provided to a local Farmer Service Agency (FSA) office within 30 days. In most cases, the FSA’s Livestock Indemnity Program will provide coverage up to 75% of the value of the animal.
MORE INFO: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/lip2011_158c020211.pdf