NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – At least 2,000 head of cattle died in southwest Kansas after extreme heat hit the region.
Charles Hord, Executive Vice President of the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association, said it’s a loss that’s hard to describe.
“They work hard; they care for their animals just like you do your pets or anything else. And to see so many die in a really tragic situation like that, it mentally takes a toll,” Hord said.
With temperatures rising once again this week, local farmers need to be on watch for “any significant change in Tennessee like what happened in Kansas.”
“The temperatures go up significantly, or the humidity increases in a matter of 12 hours – that’s where the cattle really struggle to acclimate,” Hord said.
Cattle often rely on low temperatures at night to bring down their body heat. When they can’t catch a break, the animal can become stressed.
“Even though they aren’t going to die or it be fatal, hopefully, it does impact them. They don’t feel good, they don’t eat as well; they tend to not put on weight like we hope they would in these kinds of temperatures,” Hord said.
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Hord doesn’t think temperatures in Tennessee will change as quickly as they did in Kansas or turn out to be fatal. Even so, he warns that farmers need to make sure their animals have access to plenty of shade and water to both drink and cool off in.
“Here right now in Tennessee the cattle are struggling for sure. I mean, it’s hot on them and they’re probably a little bit miserable from the heat. So farmers to have to be aware of that and watch the way they treat their animals,” Hord said.
In addition to extreme heat, farmers are also concerned about dry conditions. Farmers from the West are experiencing a drought, making it difficult to feed their cattle. Hord believes the drought could impact beef supply and could even raise prices.