Extreme temperatures hurting Green Country cattle

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Updated: 5/03/2013 9:13 am Published: 5/02/2013 9:23 pm

Extreme temperatures from 84 degrees to 37 degrees, in just over 24 hours, have local ranchers worried about their livestock. 

“The hot and cold temperatures create a stressful environment on all livestock,” said Nowata rancher Bruce Peverley. 

Peverley has owned cattle for 30 years and is also the agricultural educator at Tulsa’s Oklahoma State University Extension Office off 15th and Yale. 

“They are susceptible to the weather just like people are except we can go inside and get warm. They're stuck outside where their hair gets matted down in the rain and then they have no insulation from the cold wind,” said Peverley.

Newborn cows are the most at risk because their bodies cannot retain heat as well as the adult cattle. 

“It eventually hurts our pocketbooks because the calves that get sick do not gain as much weight, so even if they only are sick for a few days, when I take them to be weighed, they might come out 20 pounds lighter, and then I lose money,” said Peverley. 

The grass is taller because of the recent rain so the cows are filling up on grass instead of grains, which keeps them warmer, according to Peverley. 

Currently, cattle sold for meat sells for about $1,000 or more a head.  However, a cow that has been ill and weighs less might go for several hundred dollars less. 

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