Damages to Florida Cattle Industry
Irma made landfall on the Florida Keys as a category 4 hurricane, and again
in Southwest Florida as a category 3 hurricane, leaving a path of destruction
that included the beef cattle industry.
cattle is one of Florida’s most important land uses, with more than 1.7
million animals grazing in approximately 6.5 million acres of pasture and
woodlands, and annual sales of $549.1 million.
survey of cattle ranches in the aftermath of hurricane Irma revealed the
following losses and damages:
it all up, total losses, including crop losses, to beef cattle producers
in the state are estimated to be $237,476,562.
100 dead animals, each with a market value of $800, at a loss of $80,000.
187,000 calves waiting to be shipped to out-of-state feedlots, currently
in stressful conditions, will each lose about 50 pounds in weight (loss
of $75 per calf), with losses valued at $14,025,000.
crops have been severely affected by floods, and as a result many ranchers
who lost forage crops to flooding will have to purchase additional hay
and supplements to feed their animals during the coming winter. An estimated
45 additional feeding days (hay and supplement, valued at $1.85 per day
per head) for 601,250 cows, will result in unexpected hay and supplement
purchases valued at $50,054,062.
As a result
of floods and widespread damage to ranch infrastructure, the agency also
expects that up to 7 percent of the cows in Florida will not carry calves
to weaning or even breed this year. This is an estimated loss of 52,500
calves, each with a value of $787, or $41,317,500.
150,000 acres of pasture has experienced significant erosion and flood
damage as a result of Hurricane Irma. Renovating these areas will cost
around $40 per acre in replanting and related costs, for a total cost of
more than 18,000 beef cattle ranches in Florida, an estimated 6,000 suffered
significant damages to structures, fences, and equipment, and also have
large amounts of storm debris that must be cleaned up. These damages will
result in the following estimated costs: $4,000 per ranch in debris cleanup
and rebuilding fences ($24,000,000. total), $15,000 per ranch in damage
to barns, sheds, housing, roads, and other infrastructure ($90,000,000
total); and $2,000 per ranch in equipment damage ($12,000,000 total).
crops losses to beef cattle producers in Florida are estimated to be $14,105,000.