Dead Cattle Surfacing In Snow

Ranchers could feel the worst of the effects of the recent storm in the long run.
    NewsChannel 10's Marissa Bagg spent the day in the affected areas.  She has more on why the areas cattle business could suffer for some time. 

There are at least 1,000 cattle reported dead in New Mexico. In Texline hundreds are lost and ranchers are worried more could get sick as winter wears on.  "Should we get cold weather through February we could see an increase in pneumonia and disease because they don't get good insulation in their hair coats," says Leo Vermedahl, a feedyard owner.

What affects the insulation is moisture and most of these penned cattle are caked in cold mud. 
What's worse is they're strays.  "There's supposed to be a few hundred over there and there's none. And there's supposed to be 282 over yonder and there are only a few," says Mac Kehoe, a Dallam County rancher.

"The biggest problem is cattle walked right over fences," says Vermedahl.  Some went right over the fences into snow drifts were they died.  Kehoe has no idea how many cattle he's lost but images like this worry him about how many others are buried in the snow.

But it could have been worse.    "The cattle had all they could stand with snow and icicles on their hair. Another day or two would have killed them," says Kehoe.

So for now Keyhoe and Vernedahl will focus on taking care of the survivors. "It's going to be a financial set back. But the loss of weight is more a problem. Unless we find something else we don't know," says Kehoe.

Air drops of hay are being done in New Mexico and they're are planning for it in the Oklahoma panhandle. It doesn't look like that needs to be done in the Texas panhandle.