Tornado Damages Dairies in New Mexico Forcing Cows to be Put Down

A tornado on March 12 near Roswell, New Mexico, damaged a number of dairy farms and forced at least one farm to euthanize at least 150 cattle. ( Multimedia Graphic Network, Inc. )

A tornado in New Mexico that damaged homes and injured people also hit several dairies, forcing at least one farm to euthanize more than 150 cattle.

On the evening of March 12, a tornado touched down between Dexter and Hagerman, New Mexico, hitting an area that has a number of dairy farms and calf ranches. Reports of the damage to the farms has been limited, but according to Chaves County Sheriff Mike Herrington at least one dairy had to put down at least 150 cows because of injuries sustained from flying debris.

Dairy farmers in the area contacted by Dairy Herd Management reported that several farms were impacted by the storm. The majority of farms in area are open lot dairies and some fencing was damaged releasing cattle from their pens or wheat pasture. The dairy that received the worst damage reportedly had a team of veterinarians helping sew up injured animals and euthanizing those that were too injured to recover.

New Mexico State University Extension dairy specialist Robert Hagevoort shares that farmers in the Dexter-area are working to care for animals following the storm.

“The impression I get is that the damage is substantial across the affected area,” Hagevoort says.

Social media images being shared following the storm show sheds for hay and equipment storage that have had roofs torn off. Tarps covering silage piles can be seen blown into fences and center pivots were blown over in crop fields, as well.

Not only did the tornado damage a number of farms, it also wiped out 10 homes and injured five people around Dexter, a town of 5,000 people about 18 miles south of Roswell. Sheriff Herrington says that the injuries to the people were all non-life threatening.

Recovery efforts after the tornado were compounded by the fact that winds continued to blow at speeds up to 60-70 miles per hour the following day, moving debris at high speeds across the open landscape.

“It’s flying around like shrapnel,” Herrington says. “It’s blowing in a circle ... It’s just not a good, safe environment.”

Damage from the tornado and wind storm can be seen in the following social media images and videos:

Below is a series of videos taken by Courtney Munoz showing the damage on farms:

The full post with pictures can be seen below: