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Snow Storm Wreaks Havoc On South Dakota Livestock


The heavy snow that fell across the Black Hills over the weekend is wreaking havoc on South Dakota livestock. Officials are saying many cows did not survive the freezing temperatures and deep snow. They say many cattle died and their carcasses are becoming visible now that the snow is melting – reports are coming from travelers that can see them from I-90.

Ken Olson is a Certified Beef Specialist with South Dakota State University Extension. He says reports of cattle fatalities are just now starting to roll in.

“Some of it’s pretty bad. I have had reports from ranchers that I know out on the plains here in Western South Dakota – some are fortunate and haven’t had any loss – but yet their cattle are scattered across the countryside because they drifted with the wind and they’re having a hard time getting them home. On a much worse note some people have had devastating losses – up to ninety-percent of their cows and virtually all of their calves have died,” says Olson.

Olson says it may take weeks or months for ranchers to accurately assess damages but says the cattle deaths due to the snow storm will have a significant impact on the South Dakota beef industry. Olson adds that ranchers should keep an eye on cattle that may begin to show signs of stress in the future.