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Blizzard & Extreme Cold

All Blizzard & Extreme Cold Content

A South Dakota Mesonet station in a snow-covered field.

SD Mesonet Livestock Stress Tool

Weather conditions in the Northern Plains can present more than a few challenges for livestock producers. From below zero or blizzard conditions during winter or even spring, to heat waves in the summer months, farmers and ranchers need to be prepared for rapidly changing conditions to provide the best care for their livestock and minimize their risks of losses.

Holstein Dairy Calves lying in fresh straw, wearing calf blankets to help keep warm.

Managing Un-Weaned Dairy Calves During Cold Weather

Winter can present extra challenges for dairy producers and heifer growers as they try to keep calves alive and growing adequately in frigid temperatures.

A map of the Big Sioux River Basin.

Big Sioux River Flood Information System Sees Heavy Use During Spring 2019

The Big Sioux River Flood Information System is the result of a combined effort between the SD Department of Environment and Natural Resources, local governments, and private industry, to create a product that can be used to predict the impact of flood events in the Big Sioux River Basin.

A close shot of a black and red cow's face. A blurred white cow's head is in the foreground.

Lingering Health Effects in Cows and Bulls Following a Harsh Winter and Spring

While mortality directly due to harsh winter weather is much more likely in calves rather than adult cattle, older animals can be affected too, and some of those effects might linger into the days of better weather and warmer temperatures.

A newborn calf with its mother in a snowy field

Will Health Effects Linger in Beef Calves Following Harsh Spring Weather?

Beef herds calving in late winter or early spring flirt with disaster annually when it comes to bitter weather conditions. It’s a rare year when a prolonged cold snap or snowstorm doesn’t occur during this critical period. In the throes of those weather conditions, calf health and even survival can be directly affected.

Black cow and calf out on muddy pasture with hay and straw bedding. Photo by Sara Bauder.

Planning for a Muddy Breeding Season

Early calving spring cow herds have wrapped up calving and are preparing for breeding season. If you are having flashbacks to breeding in the mud of 2018, try approaching this year with an open mind and review breeding season protocols with a “mud” backup plan.

Dutch Dakota Dairy at Lake Preston South Dakota is inundated with snow after a recent blizzard that has made farm facility access very difficult due to extreme snow depth. Courtesy: Truus Schukking

Available Disaster Resources Given Recent Weather Events

Given the recent havoc endured by producers in the upper mid-west by the spring blizzard or even prior flooding we are aware that many producers have incurred losses. There are several programs available through the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to help provide assistance.

a small emergency management team in a makeshift local office. Photo by George Armstrong, FEMA.

Every Disaster is Local First

If you are experiencing a disaster, it is a local disaster. Your best chance for immediate help before, during, or after a disaster is local.

Small business "Muddy River Hobbies" with sandbags in front of entrance. Photo by Jeannie Mooney, FEMA.

Managing Disaster Recovery for Your Small Business

What do you do when your small business is hit by a disaster such as a flood, tornado, fire or other natural disaster? Many times, with the day to day work of operating a business, we sometimes forget about what we have in our disaster plan.

a business checklist written on a pad with a pen. Photo by Eilis Maynard, FEMA

Communities Facing Disasters: Helpful Checklists

Whether communities are planning for, experiencing, or recovering from a disaster, checklists are helpful. View some helpful checklists created by experienced people who know what is needed during any stage of a disaster.