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Counting the Costs of North Dakota's Floods

29 April 2009

NORTH DAKOTA, US - So far this spring, 91,000 cattle - 19,000 adult cattle and 72,000 calves - have died as a result of flooding in North Dakota, according to an estimate by the USDA and the North Dakota State University Extension Service.

Ranchers blame months of bad weather, reports Agrimarketing. Last fall's heavy rains soaked into hay and reduced its nutritional value, weakening pregnant cows over winter, whilst the long, cold winter stressed cows preparing to give birth this spring. Severe storms and record flooding this spring led to far more sickness and death than usual among newborn calves.

According to Agrimarketing, the estimated 91,000 dead cattle and calves were worth about $55 million, using figures from Tim Petry, NDSU Extension livestock economist. The adult cattle were worth roughly $650 each and the calves would have sold this fall for $600 each, he estimated.

A federal disaster program -- details of which have yet to be determined -- ultimately will compensate ranchers for some of their loss, Petry said.

Cattle producers typically lose about 3 to 5 per cent of their calf crop each year.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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