The intense heat and humidity that blanketed central Kansas since late last week have killed more than 2,000 cattle and one state official called the heat-related losses the worst in his 17 years on the job.
However, conditions for the cattle improved somewhat July 20 as the humidity has decreased and the wind has picked up, state and feedlot sources said.
Kansas is the third-largest cattle state with more than two million cattle in feedlots.
“It is all cattle in feedlots. It is more the humidity than the heat,” Ken Powell, environmental scientist with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said of the more than 2,000 cattle deaths.
The cattle deaths have overwhelmed rendering plants and some feedlots are burying the carcasses in accordance with state regulations, said Powell.
“From the standpoint of dealing with the disposal of animals, this is the worst I have seen in the almost 17 years I’ve been here,” he said.