Not in a good way: Recent heatwave impacting both cattle and crops

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BUTLER COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) — The hot temperatures are putting extra pressure on Kansas ranchers who are looking to sell their cattle. The current heatwave is having an impact during one of the busiest times of year for ranchers.

“Probably the most critical thing is you have a good, clean water source for all of the livestock,” said Jacob Kehler, south-central Kansas rancher.

When it gets to over 100 degrees, ranchers also need to worry about the cattle losing weight.

“The gain is the biggest goal there,” said Kehler. “To get the pounds put on the animal then make sure they retain those pounds is very important.”

Barrett Simon is an auctioneer at the El Dorado Livestock Auction. He says most ranchers wake up before sunrise so they can transport cattle before the heat causes problems.

“If we need to do anything with those cattle,” Simon explained, it is to “get them in early in the day when there’s still some cool weather and a good chance for them to be relatively comfortable and in a low-stress environment.”

The heat also hurts the rate the prairie grass grows back, resulting in the next generation of cattle lacking sufficient grass to feed on.

“It’s where we make a lot of our money,” added Kehler. “You know, we really grow grass to feed cattle.”

Additionally, the heat is having a bad impact on crops in need of harvesting.

“What we have coming up in the forecast is going to be somewhat problematic for a corn crop that is trying to finish out,” said Mike Zacharias with the Mid-Kansas Coop. “We’re at the mercy of Mother Nature and rainfall and climatic conditions.”

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