Winter Storm Goliath, officially named the deadliest U.S. storm in 2015, killed 52 people as a result of severe weather conditions, but the effects on the dairy industry are expected to continue, with an estimated death toll of more than 30,000 cows.
Dangerous blizzard conditions are believed to have killed five percent of mature dairy cows, and an unknown number of calves and v heifers. The primary impact area includes half of Texas’ top 10 milk-producing counties, and is home to 36 percent of the state’s dairy cows.
In a press release, the Texas Association of Dairymen warned that in addition to the deaths of thousands of dairy cows, the storm would have lasting effects on the dairy industry of Texas.
During the blizzard, hundreds of milk shipments ready for processing were wasted, and on some farms, dairy cows went almost two days without being milked. “When a dairy cow goes that long without being milked, her milk supply starts to dry up,” said Darren Turley, executive director of the Texas Association of Dairymen. “That means the dairy cows in this region will give less milk for months to come. Less milk going to market will be felt by consumers, as well as by dairy farmers.”