W. Kansas ranchers lose livestock in snowstorm

Published: May. 1, 2017 at 10:16 PM CDT
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The weekend storm that dumped more than one foot of snow in some areas of western Kansas, caused a big problem for some cattle ranchers.

The heaavy snow along with wind gusts of up to 70 mph buried cattle in the Elkhart area in southwest Kansas. It was a similar situation in Kearny County.

Making conditions tougher near Elkhart, was that about two inches of rain fell before the snow, creating muddy conditions.

"We've got cattle buried everywhere, some alive, some not so alive," says rancher Troy Coen. "We've got dead cattle and calves with no mamas because their calves are there, but no cows."

Monday, Coen says he was missing 27 head of cattle. He went out in a plane to search for some of those cattle, but did not have any luck.

He says what happened over the weekend with the late April snowstorm is something he has never seen.

Kyler Millershaski, a farmer and rancher in Kearny County says he is just now coming to grips with how much damage the storm caused.

"I was actually pretty optimistic that we were going to make it through, then we get out her Monday morning and just see all the dead calves. That really hits you deep," he says.

Millershaski says they did all they could to protect their livestock ahead of the storm by putting out extra feed and wind barriers. But when the storm finally hit, they realized its true strength.

"I didn't even try getting out of the house because I knew there was no way I could get up her to help them," Millershaski says. "You feel so helpless at times, just because, you know, your responsibility is to come up here and take care of these cows, and there's literally nothing you can do."

Now, Millershaski and his family are in the process of cleaning up after what they describe as some of the toughest days of their lives.

"It's amazing how its little things that make you happy," he says.

One of those "little things" was seeing surviving calves Tuesday, running around playing, enjoying the sun.

"It was a real uplifting moment," Millershaski says.