Cattle coping with high temps

While people seek relief from this heatwave, thousands of cattle across the state are also coping with the high temperatures.

At Mike Briggs' Feedlot just outside of Seward, more than 5,000 cows are trying to survive in the extreme heat.  Cows pant and snort to try and stay cool, but Briggs knows that's not enough.  Each of his cattle pens has a sprinkler running 10 hours a day.  That adds up to more than 100,000 gallons of water per day to keep the cattle cool, but it's an expense Briggs knows is worth it.  He's already had a few of his more vulnerable cattle die because of the heat.  “This hot weather isn't just death loss to the cattle, it's the amount of pounds that the cattle lose or don't gain because they're not eating.  It gets very expensive with $7.00, $8.00 corn.”

There's been no relief either.  Briggs says when the cows can't get their temperature down to about 102 at night, they run a higher risk of overheating during the day.   He says, “You can tell if they're miserable.”

The water helps the cool the cattle down right away, but Briggs says it can have negative effects down the road.  “By running the sprinklers, we're going to have some cattle with foot rot, so we're going to have to deal with that.  You're going to have a big mess in the pens you're going to have to clean up.”

The Department of Agriculture puts cattle in the emergency zone until Thursday.