Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Cold Weather Challenges Ranchers, Dairies

The region’s cold snap has many dairy operators and ranchers taking extra care with their livestock. When it’s cold, cattle and other types of livestock tend to eat more to stay warm.

Despite the low temperatures intensified by a slight wind, Len McIrvin’s Herford cattle just lowed at his passing pickup.

They’re munching on what’s left in a harvested cornfield a few miles from the Columbia River. McIrvin says as long as the cattle have enough to eat, and he clears the water troughs of ice a few times a day, they’ll be fine. It’s the cattle on his mountainous ranch near the Canadian border, he’s more worried about.

“We’ve got a lot of cattle still up at the north ranch that are in two feet of snow. It’s hard for them to find feed. It’s the cattle that we haven’t been able to find yet that we will get. The stragglers from the herds,” says McIrvin.

McIrvin says the most vulnerable animals are those that might be ill, young calves or those animals hassled by wolves in deep snow.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.