Ranchers careful with cattle as temperatures rise


GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – We’re in the hottest part of the year, and while we talk about how we can deal with the heat, ranchers have to make sure their cattle are safe as well.

“They go through stress just like we do,” said rancher Lee Reeve. “The breeze is what really, really helps.”

It’s cooled off a bit on Thursday, but temperatures earlier this week broke triple digits. When it gets hot, cattle eat less and put on less weight.

“You’ll have a little hit on the performance at that time,” explained Reeve.

While ranchers expect it to happen, it still costs them.

“Any time you have a reduction in performance, it will hit you economically, but that’s just part of being in the cattle business,” said Reeve.

The hottest times of the year are also when cattle deaths spike.

“There will be a rise,” said Reeve, “especially on the cattle who are stressed or sick or don’t have a lot of lung capacity.”

There are things ranchers do to help their cattle.

“We try to feed them a little earlier so they can eat a little earlier and make sure that they have a lot of fresh water,” Reeve added.

They also make sure the cattle aren’t too crowded.

“We always move them early morning or late afternoon,” said Reeve. “We don’t do anything with them during the heat of the day.”

Reeve also said that just like us, lower humidity and cooler temperatures at night help give cattle extra relief from the heat.

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