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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:23 — 18.4MB)It has happened again: approximately 3000 heads of cattle died suddenly at a cattle ranch in Kansas, and the usual nonsense explanations are being offered: 3,000 cattle suddenly fell dead last weekend in Kansas. According to the farmers, there is no plausible explanation for this.…


I just want to make a couple of points on the feedlot cattle death. I have heard of these in the past, they are usually a deliberate action, whether by a competitor, a nefarious crime, or even insurance fraud. They are all found out and quickly. There is too much money involved.

First to note, these cattle did not die in the location they were filmed. Those cattle are dead at least 24 hours, probably more like 48. It takes a while for them to blow up like that, even in heat. They are lined up like that after being dropped off from the bed of a truck, transported from the place where they died. They will be burned in a pit, probably, over the course of a couple of days I guess. Sorry to be graphic, but it leads to next point.

I can’t tell the breed from the video, but they look like shorthorn of some type, and there are some brahmen features. Cattle that are raised in the heat are bred with heat resistant strains. Cattle survive in the outback of Australia, and that is consistently hotter than 100F, even at night, and they do just fine all year around and have done for 100 years or more. The breed of the cattle is particular to the environment, and heat resistant strains are selected for hot areas.

All of the herd looks to be of the same breed. They seem to be all steers, dehorned and of the same approximate age. That is consistent with a feedlot. That means there is a herd of breeders and bulls somewhere not to far away from the feedlot. Certainly, the breeding herd will have been subject to the same, or similar, weather conditions as the feedlot herd. I didn’t see any cows, bulls or calves in the video.

If disease was the culprit, cows and calves would be the first affected. No rancher worth the name could fail to notice a couple of cows dead, even in a big field. Certainly a feedlot has a lot of cattle in a relatively small space, and they will be observed nearly all the time, there is always action at a feedlot, whether herding a portion off to the market, grading, drenching, branding, feeding, checking the water, walking about and wondering what to do about that dodgy fence over there, chewing the fat with vendors, agents wandering in for a look, the action is non stop, and there are eyes on everything. The only time people aren’t about is at night, and that will be only 6 or 7 hours at most. And there is nothing like a herd of cattle lowing in the middle of the night to get a beef farmer up into his saddle at 4am lickety split for a quick check. Cows make noise when they are disturbed, sick, worried. They are a herd animal and they communicate to each other regularly.

Well fed steers of 18 to 24 months old are incredibly tough, even pampered ones in a feedlot. Maybe not as fit as a wild bullock, but in the prime of their life (prime beef anyone?) and well able to survive a lot of punishment. It would take a heck of a lightning strike to kill that many all at once. I have only ever seen 2 cattle killed by lightning, and they were struck in the middle of a herd during a thunderstorm.

My initial thought on the culprit would be water deprivation, but there is no indication of the water availability on the farm from which they have been brought. It would have to be the worlds crappiest feedlot to have deprived their cattle of water in the middle of the summer heat, and they would be up on charges by now if that were the case. There would be zero chance of that not being known by now, if one farm is out of water, that will have been in the news prior to the cattle dying. The local cattle markets would have known months ago, and every agent within 100 miles would be aware of an operation of that size getting into resource issues long ago.

Feedlot cattle generally aren’t like chicken battery farms. The animals move about and there is plenty of water and shelter for them. No-one is going to have 2 million dollars of beef expire because there is not enough water for them to drink and cool off, or enough shade to rest under. It would defeat the whole purpose of building a feedlot. One or two can be expected to die in a given herd, but that would be snakebite, an unfortunate accident or a genetic issue, maybe one goes crazy and tries to leap out of its apparent paradise and breaks its neck. If that happened, remediation would be quick to protect the investment.

Poisoning is a possibility, and the vet in charge did not mention water or feed at all. You would need a heavy poison in the water to kill that many cattle all at once. It could have been the feed, but that would be a deliberate action, for sure. If it were poison, that is a federal issue (in Australia, at least, where our family has run beef cattle and a small feedlot), and if John Wayne and co are anything to go by, cowboys don’t like rustlers or poisoners in the USA either. No mention of the agencies involved, but a herd death like that would make every single beef farmer in Australia pick up the phone to the local federal member to ask what the hell happened. I expect its the same thing in the US. Big beef is big money.

The story as presented doesn’t add up, that is for sure. I guarantee not a single rancher whose livelihood depends on getting cattle to market believes this story either.

If you want to find out the real story on this, go to a cattle sale and listen in on the gossip. Stock agents will have the inside skinny, the canteen will be talking about it for months and the auctioneers will be desperate to make sure the “right” story gets out so the market is not affected. Also, a lot of the feedlots in the US are on the stock market, operations are pretty big there, from what I’ve heard.


100% on the nose agree! Thank you! Not an ‘expert’, comparatively speaking to the old-timers, but have grown up around cattle off and on and driven a few herds on horseback. What you’ve stated is absolutely TRUE.

Many thanks for your observations! They are greatly appreciated by me and I would think by all the readers of this site!

Jos F


Thank you, thank you thank you @dogsbreth we know but could never explain it as well as you have. Thank you!


I believe it was poisoning at this point, but how about a bit of a different high-octane speculation, as Doc would say? I don’t know if you’re aware of what a “derecho” is; I take it you’re not in U.S.

Could the herd have been wiped by a huge straight-line wind close to 100mph; a very hard downburst wind. They can, at times have typhoon & tornado strength winds, like a wall hitting them. There were a couple reported in the area, as I watched the storm chasers & they were reporting on high probabilities of this.

Could the force of such a downburst wind hitting that herd from above have killed those steers? Just speculation, I know, but have to wonder…

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@ebmason sorry to chime in here. But why only that breed of animal would be effected by a “ derecho”? I’m thinking more on poisoning as @ColonelZ mentioned in an earlier post.

At least we can all agree that the narratives out there are not only far fetched but sometimes I wonder if it’s two fold. As Dr. Farrell mentioned about some kind of technology and maybe for TPTB to weed out us rebels.

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These are beef cattle & like they were the only breed on the lot.
Did you even read my post? I said that poisoning is most likely, before I said anything else.

I don’t know, sounds like a long stretch to me. Honestly, I’ve been waiting for justawhoaman to chip in on this, she’s in primary production (or close to it) in a not to distant region to Kansas, as far as I know. She is likely very interested in what’s going on there, and I guess the fact she hasn’t commented yet means she is not sure of the story yet. That should tell you something right there.

You’re probably going to find out the story on something like this, there’s too much riding on the outcome for there to not be an “official” story, and I am just trying to point out the hot weather story is not going to hold very long for people in the business.

If it is poison, that will get out one way or the other. A simple drop in house prices across the region will tell you that. If the PTB try to hold the line on it “not being poison”, house prices should stay stable across the region. That’s the best I can do from thousands of miles away.


Agree @dogsbreth
I’m wondering about the story line myself. They look to be Angus breed, which is used to heat; we have lots of them here in Texas, so, nuff said. Will be interesting to hear from justa on this.
Admittedly, the derecho theory is far-fetched; thought I’d throw a bone out there to chew on.

Thank you!

If the blood stock is from Texas, then that’s probably what they are. It’s hard to tell when they are flat on their back and bloated in a grainy video. The square heads are definitely shorthorn of some type.

One thing to note is that feedlot stock usually fatten up over a 90-120 day cycle, they aren’t born and raised in the feedlot. If the feedlot keeps rolling stock, which is likely, they will sell monthly, possibly bi-monthly, so the meat works can manage the volumes expected. There will be constant draw and fill of the stock in a feedlot. If there are multiple feedlots affected, I suspect they are all buying in cut and horned steers at 12-18 months in lots of 10 or 20 from the calf sales and trucking them to the feedlot. I’d be asking the truckers what their story is, they will be back and forward 10-15 times a week drawing stock to and from all the feedlots, meat works and sale yards.

There will be a relationship between the feedlot and the breeding farms, whether a subsidiary of the breeding company or a share-farm type situation where someone else’s money is at risk (croppers and grain farmers may have an interest in feedlots) and those organisations will be right up in the gear of the breeders if the genetics of those famous Texas steers are suddenly unable to handle the heat in Kansas, only a couple hundred miles away. Those bloodlines will be pretty old and stable, I suspect, and if there is a sudden eruption of “we just cannae handle the heat, captain”, the bloodstock will wear it and they will be out of business. Check out the beef industry magazines and papers for stories, brands that sell thousands of weaners per year are turning over millions per quarter.

If I were truly trying to find out what went down, I’d be off to the local rodeo and into the bar to chat up a couple of local cowboys wearing branded gear to see what their farm wants people to know. You cant hide this kind of information, too many people are in the loop, personally affected and professionally offended at it. Beef farmers are pretty fond of their product, jealous of their reputation and they like the money to flow. They are not going to take this lying down, and a herd death of that magnitude is going to cause problems for someone. I wouldn’t want to be a silicon valley nerd in charge of this operation once the good old boys find out where to point their winchesters, they wont stand a chance.


@ebmason yes I read your post. I saw ColonelZ’s post first before reading yours. Maybe I should have said “ I’m thinking more on poisoning ALSO as @ColonelZ mentioned in an earlier post”.

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Sorry if I sounded miffed. Crazy day today.

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@ebmason No problem. I feel we are all having crazy days lately.

I dont know if anyone is still interested in this topic, but I thought I would add a little to the mix. I spoke with my father today and mentioned this issue to him. He’s been a cattleman his whole life and is a true expert in the field. He added two additional possible explanations for a sudden herd death.

The first he is aware of is at least one large herd death has occurred as a result of gasses released caused by fracking taking place under the ground of the herd. Overnight, gasses released from a fracking process have been known to escape to the surface, and in the stillness of the night, settling in an area. The gasses will stay in the area until disturbed by wind and that has resulted in one known herd death in Australia.

The second is by helicopter. Very large helicopters, he mentioned Chinook style, dual rotor type helicopters are known to cause oxygen deprivation in the area directly below the downdraft of the rotors. He heard of this through some military buddies of his in the US, also in the cattle game, who had found this out by accident. Apparently, these large helos were used in the US as a means of depositing large steel beams being used in a construction of a big shed, or something similar. The heavy, dual rotor helos were piloted by some Russian pilots who were regionally famous for their skill in being able to lower a heavy steel beam into place from a hover distance of 50m height. Apparently the beams were being lowered into place with such accuracy that all the riggers had to do was insert a pinion into the beam to hold it in place. Now, the military regulations for these helos are such that there is a minimum ground clearance for them to safely hover above ground, and it is apparently higher than the 50m being used in this civilian application. The reason for the hover height is not for safe clearance distance from any potential ground based obstacle, but because the downdraft effect of such powerful rotors evacuates the area directly below the helo of oxygen. The issue became known owing to the Russian pilots happily gliding in over a herd of cattle with their cargo and the farmers noticed that cattle were falling over. The cattle apparently did get up afterwards, and the suspicion was that they were knocked over by the downdraft, which caused some consternation. The issue became a bigger affair once some cattle did not recover afterwards, and the vet declared they had died from asphyxiation.

I would have to pump my father for more information on these possibilities, I was not aware of the helicopter issue and have not heard of it before, but there are two more ideas to put on the table: fracking releasing gas, and heavy helicopters evacuating a region of oxygen.


Isn’t LNG gas derived from fracking? If so, and the asking for LNG gas is up worldwide, that could explane a lot! This hypothesis does not bode well for the future of cattle and ranchers.

Nor does it bode well for we humans.


Seems like it’s also possible to glean lng in those ops where they swoop over from international waters to whisk up the oil of others. Why pay more.