Western Nebraska ranchers lost more than two thousand head of cattle from the early October blizzard that caught the upper reaches of the Panhandle off guard.
It could have been worse.
State Agriculture Director Greg Ibach says even with the count of dead cattle topping two thousand, Nebraska ranchers dodged a weather bullet.
“Overall, we heard rumors that the losses were going to be a lot higher initially and so, while it’s still too many to lose and too many for individual farmers to lose, we really weathered the storm better than initially feared,” says Ibach.
Many factors contributed to the large loss of cattle in northwestern Nebraska.
The blizzard came early, very early. The storm first brought freezing rain, coating cattle which hadn’t grown their winter coats, yet. Ranchers hadn’t moved cattle to more protected pastures, normally closer to the farm house.
Once the storm began, it stayed for a while, longer than normal, dumping 10-to-12 inches of snow in western Nebraska.
It hit South Dakota even harder as it moved north. Thousands more head of cattle died in South Dakota.
Ibach says the state has advised ranchers to keep good records so claims can be made once Congress approves a new farm bill.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]