Early snow storms cause cattle losses

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Just one week into October and cattle producers in South Dakota are recording cattle losses from recent snow storms.

State officials are collecting data and cattle producers are tallying up livestock losses following this weekend’s blizzard affecting Black Hills communities in South Dakota.

Many producers had kept animals on summer pastures, delaying the move closer to home. Now the snow and wind gusts reaching up to 60 miles per hour are making it difficult to locate and move livestock.

Silvia Christen, executive director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, says cattle searches are difficult with animals buried under snow drifts.

Some producers are reporting losses of between 20 and 50 percent of their herd and the Rapid City Journal reports total losses in West River account for more than five percent of the herd. KBHB Radio says one unconfirmed report had one rancher south of Dupree missing 200 cattle.

KBHB Radio says some are already calling it one of the worst blizzards in South Dakota’s history and damages are adding up to the multi-millions.

In a year where many producers are considering herd expansion, Christen said the blizzard not only hurts sales this year, but also reduces the number of calves they can produce next year.

"From a financial perspective, it's going to span over two years," she said.

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