The April wildfires that raged across parts of western Oklahoma took its toll on the cattle industry. Estimated cattle operation losses exceed $26 million, based on available information.
“More than 348,000 acres burned causing a wide variety of losses to livestock, pastures, hay, fences and facilities,” said Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension livestock marketing specialist.
Estimated cattle industry losses in Oklahoma include:
- $16.4 million for fence replacement and repair
- $1.4 million for livestock killed or destroyed as a result of the fire plus veterinary costs and reduced value of surviving injured animals
- $6.3 million for burned facilities and corrals
- $1.6 million for emergency feed
- $660,000 for burned pasture and hay
The estimates are based in part on preliminary totals of some 1,600 head of cattle lost and over 2,100 miles of fences affected. The totals do not include any estimates for vehicle and equipment losses or homes or other personal property destroyed in the fires.
“Naturally, estimates may increase as a more comprehensive assessment of the losses is completed,” Peel said.
Peel added losses incurred in the fires will have significant and long-lasting financial impacts on the agricultural operations and families affected. However, no significant market effects on livestock prices are expected as a result of the fire impacts.
Oklahoma is the nation’s fifth-leading producer of cattle and calves, according to USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service data.
The Oklahoma State University Extension said hay is the number one need right now for ranchers. Additionally, a relief fund has been established by the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation to help cattle producers who have been affected by the on-going wildfires. One hundred percent of donations will be distributed to ranchers who have been affected by the fires.
The Oklahoma Farming and Ranching Foundation has created a matching program and will work with FFA and 4-H to begin distributing wildfire relief donations the organization has collected to help victims of the 2018 springtime Oklahoma wildfires.