As Smoke Clears, Derrell Peel Calculates $26.4M in Wildfire Damage to NW OK Cattle OperationsTue, 08 May 2018 10:51:37 CDT
More than 350,000 acres were consumed by the wildfires that broke out across northwestern Oklahoma this April, leaving behind considerable damage. Since those fires were put out, Oklahoma State University Extension’s Dr. Derrell Peel has done some assessment of the losses specifically related to cattle operations in those areas. Even without the loss of residential homes, businesses and other things factored in, Peel says the numbers are substantial.
“We don’t have firm numbers yet, but I put together some estimates that total up to $26.4 million,” he stated. “It’s a pretty big number and includes a lot of fence damage on potentially more than 2,000 miles of fence. We are currently estimating that around 1,600 cattle died in the fire and additionally there were quite a lot of burned and hurt animals that have to be cared for.”
This has created an emergent need for hay and feed, due to the significant loss of pasture, which coupled with other ranching facilities burned, adds to that overall total calculated by Peel. Meantime, he says that the recovery process is underway, but it will take time for ranchers to get fully back on their feet.
“There is recovery going on,” Peel said. “There is a great need for hay still in the area and then obviously longer term, there will be a tremendous amount of fence and facilities that have to be rebuilt and repaired as a result of this.”
Hay supplies are short right now given that producers have nearly exhausted their winter feeding supply, but those with hay to spare that would like to donate are still encouraged to do so. For instructions on how to coordinate a hay drop-off, contact the Woodward County Extension Office at 405-590-0106.
Listen to OSU’s Dr. Derrell Peel speak with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays about the preliminary estimates of damage to cattle operations in northwest Oklahoma left in the wake of recent wildfires, on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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