Drowned Cattle- Warning: image may be disturbing to some...

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Karin L, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. Karin L

    Karin L Bovine and Range Nerd

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    Half of herd plunges through ice

    Community offers help through fundraising auctions, donations of supplies and newborn calves

    Jeffrey Hawkins, The Edmonton Journal

    Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2006

    EDMONTON - Farming communities are pitching in to help a Viking-area farmer after more than half his herd of cattle drowned in a ice-covered dugout.

    More than 160 black Angus cows and calves fell through the ice into about five metres of water on a dugout just off Highway 36 near Viking, 110 kilometres southeast of Edmonton.

    "It's a complete loss," said Lief Erickson, a third-generation cattle farmer. "I'm going to have to rethink everything now."

    [​IMG]
    OVER 160 HEAD OF CATTLE DROWN ON VIKING-AREA FARM: Carcasses are visible through the snow at the dugout on Lief Erickson's farm near Viking on Monday. A backhoe will start digging on Wednesday to remove the cattle.
    Bruce Edwards, The Journal

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    Font: ****Every winter, Erickson chops several holes in the ice so his cows can drink.

    But a snowstorm that swept through the Viking area on Dec. 2 covered the holes he cut earlier in the day. When the herd of 100 cows and 65 calves went onto the 60-metre-long dugout in search of the watering holes, their combined weight was too much for the 30-centimetre-thick ice.

    "It just couldn't take the weight," said Everett Loney, district superintendent for Livestock Identification Services in Red Deer.

    "They ended up drowning each other while trying to climb out, but because of the way the dugout was constructed they really couldn't get out."

    Erickson said the devastating loss, which he estimates at more than $100,000, is forcing him to rethink his life as a farmer, because most of his cows weren't insured.

    "We're going to have to make some hard choices in next couple of weeks," said the father of four children aged 3 to 14. "Some of those animals were on their fourth calf, but a lot were only on their first, so we were really counting on them."

    The Viking Auction Market plans a number of charitable auctions, with all proceeds going to the Erickson family.

    "Everyone's really taking this to heart and helping out any way they can," said market owner Cliff Grinde. "Most of them don't even know who the Ericksons are, but we've all had it happen to our own cattle over the years, just never like this."

    Ken Hildebrandt doesn't know the family, but is one of many who have reached out to help. Hildebrandt's backhoe company has offered machinery at "a substantially reduced price" to dig the frozen cattle out of the dugout.

    Digging will start Wednesday, he said.

    Grinde said dozens of other farmers are offering the Ericksons supplies, fresh bails of hay and even new cattle.

    "One man called yesterday and said he wants to give them 12 newborn calves for free," he said.

    Donations to the Erickson family can be made through the Viking Auction Market at 780-336-2209.

    jhawkins@thejournal.canwest.com




    © The Edmonton Journal 2006
     
  2. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    Its one thing when its 5 animals, or a couple. But when its 160, that is tragic. It would be tough to imagine stumbling across half your herd, dead of something simple. Healthy animals too. The other unfortunate thing is the fact the meat is a waste for the most part. Considering the chemicals involved in the breakdown process would make the meat fairly nasty, and low quality.


    Jeff
     

  3. Hammer4

    Hammer4 Well-Known Member

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    What does the story mean by 'dugout? A man made pond or lake?

    That is a shame.
     
  4. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It's probably a pond dug down into the water table. Usually the sides are pretty steep.
     
  5. Karin L

    Karin L Bovine and Range Nerd

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    "Dugout" is an Alberta term for a man-made pond-larger than a pond, smaller than a lake. Like fishhead said.
     
  6. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Wonder how many he has left? It's a tough break for anyone to have to find that mess. Let alone figure out how to clean it up. Glad the backhoe people are giving them a break on it.

    Totally off topic, does it bug anyone else to see journalists continually mistaking "bail" for "bale"? I see it a lot and it makes me want to call the newspaper and ask what grade they managed to reach before quitting school.

    Jennifer
     
  7. Karin L

    Karin L Bovine and Range Nerd

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    Never noticed until you mentioned it. Most local newspapers don't misspell "bale" though, just probably the ones fromthe big cities.
     
  8. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Farms with Unfenced Operating or abandoned Liquid Manure Pits pose a similar Hazard.