A day-long blizzard killed 1,677 cows at about 10 dairies in the Sunnyside area of Washington state last Saturday.
A snowstorm was accompanied by sustained winds of 30 to 50 mph all day and gusts up to 80 mph, farmers said.
Because of desert climate conditions, many farms in the area are open lot dairies with cows outside or under open-sided shelters. Most of the dairies with losses were on an exposed ridge north of town.
“Cows were huddled in, pressed up against each other in corners of pens and refused to move. Farmers couldn’t get them to move into milking barns. Herd instinct,” said Gerald Baron, executive director of Save Family Farming, a farm advocacy group. “Most cows died from injuries from each other and some from cold exposure. They went down and couldn’t get up.”
Read the full story at Capital Press.