Oppressive heat is weighing on animal agriculture across the country, and dairy cow losses in California are starting to mount.

California dairies have endured 10 straight days of triple-digit temperatures with more on the way. A check at weather.com shows that the string of 100+ degree days could be broken this weekend.

Some California dairies are losing at least one cow per day from heat stress. Estimates currently peg losses at about 1 percent of affected herds. Some say the death toll could rise to 2 percent in affected herds before the heat spell breaks.

Milk production is also down. Loss estimates range from 10 percent to 20 percent.

In addition, the mounting cow losses have rendering plants overwhelmed. Several counties have passed emergency ordinances to allow producers to bury the dead animals.

To read an article from the Modesto Bee, go to: http://www.modbee.com/local/story/12498932p-13215083c.html

To read an article from the Lodi News-Sentinel, go to: http://www.lodinews.com/articles/2006/07/25/news/3_livestock_060725.txt

Modesto Bee, Lodi News-Sentinel