An estimated 1,600 dairy cows died in the Lower Yakima Valley during blizzard conditions over the weekend and Monday. Absolutely heart-breaking!
Dairy farmers who had been in the business their entire lives said they had never seen anything like the weather that hit areas near Grandview and Sunnyside between the Tri-Cities and Yakima. People were expecting some snow. But not one was expecting it as bad as it was.
At Sunny Dene Ranch about eight miles south of Sunnyside, co-owner and veterinarian Bill Wavrin said he had 30 inches of snow, 44 mph winds and temperatures that fell to 18 below zero. Just unbelievable!
SNOW PREPARATIONS NOT ENOUGH
Farmers prepared for the snowstorm and were working around the clock to protect their animals as weather conditions worsened:
- providing extra bedding for cows and extra feed because cows need to eat more in cold weather.
- preventing freezing water in troughs and making regular checks, breaking ice when needed.
- creating wind breaks in addition to the ones already on their farms by stacking bales of straw.
But even with all the precautions and preparations it still wasn’t enough!
Washington state ranks 10th in the nation for milk production. It’s a $1.13 billion industry in the state, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service data for 2017.
I hope everyone is a little extra appreciative for the breakfast on their table because it was a little harder than usual this time.