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Winter Storm Uri’s impact on livestock agriculture in Texas

published: March 15th 2021
by: David P. Anderson
source: Texas AgriLife Today

Economic impacts of winter storm Uri are still being pulled together.  It appears that cattle death losses in feedyards and dairies were light.  It helped that the storm front did not drop a lot of moisture ahead of the cold.  Cow losses have been reported and it’s likely that newborn calves were hit hard during the storm.  Data from USDA indicates about 15 percent of calves are born in the western region of the US in February.  Additional feed costs and lost efficiency will likely be a large source of economic losses.   The animal used their feed energy to stay warm rather than gain weight.  The well-publicized electric grid problems forced reduced steam flaking and more reliance on dry ground corn.  Steer live weights in the Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico region dropped from 1,361 pounds for the week before the storm to 1,251 pounds per head for the week of the storm.  Milk production was reduced and there were reports of limited milk dumping.

South Texas sustained some large losses in the citrus industry due to freezing temperatures extending into the Rio Grande Valley.  The severity of freeze damage to the trees won’t be clear for some time but, certainly will include losses to this year’s crop and part of next year’s, as well.

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