SEVERE WX : Excessive Heat Warning View Alerts

This year's snowy winter especially tough on Iowa ranchers

The weather has been hard for the state's $13.6 billion livestock industry, which leads the nation in pig and egg production.

Posted: Feb 27, 2019 11:06 AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa's cold and snowy winter has been especially difficult on livestock producers, who have often struggled just to reach their animals.

Iowa so far has seen a February snowfall average of 21 inches (53 centimeters), State Climatologist Justin Glisan told The Des Moines Register . That's just short of a record 22.2 inches (56.39 centimeters) set in 1962.

The weather has been hard for the state's $13.6 billion livestock industry, which leads the nation in pig and egg production.

Rancher Trent Thiele said he had to ride a snowmobile 50 miles Sunday to check on his pigs. He said blowing snow made the trip treacherous.

"I got thrown off the snowmobile hard, several times," he said. "You just couldn't see. You'd hit a snowbank, go flying and get back on again."

The heavy snow is causing an overwhelming amount of maintenance issues as farmers work to ensure machines in animal facilities are providing fresh air, food and water, Thiele said.

Jeff Kaisand, a state veterinarian, said he had a difficult time this weekend getting to ranchers and their animals.

"Producers are resourceful. They will dig the roads out themselves so they can get to animals," he said. "There were farmers running tractors up and down the road where I live, trying to open up roads."

Dan Hanrahan, a rancher in Cumming, is taking extra care to ensure his cows are well fed so they have a thick coat and fat layer to help them withstand the frigid temperatures. He's giving his herd additional hay bales and buckets of corn.

Hanrahan will soon need to conduct nightly checks on his heifers, to ensure those delivering their first calves aren't having issues.

Article Comments

Mason City
Clear
92° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 109°
Albert Lea
Clear
93° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 103°
Austin
Clear
93° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 103°
Charles City
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 111°
Rochester
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 106°
Another round of dangerous heat and potentially dangerous storms for Friday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Austin Splash Pad Stays Open

Image

The latest on a search for a missing man in Rochester

Image

Crews battle house fire in Dodge County

Image

Police see uptick in thefts during fair week

Image

Tracking the Heat & Humidity

Image

Urban farm offers alpaca yoga

${article.thumbnail.title}

StormTeam 3: The hottest air of the year moves in today

Image

RCTC hires Bonde as women's coach

Image

IGHSAU state softball pairings

Image

21st Century Approach to Softball

Community Events