Weather Forecast


Western SD cattle herds were growing before blizzard

By Black Hills Knowledge Network

The Oct. 4 blizzard named Atlas hit western South Dakota as herds in Black Hills counties were on an upward trend, a Black Hills Knowledge Network analysis shows.

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Cattle populations logged growth in each of the seven counties from 2012 to 2013, although some growth was slight while other counties grew significantly.

The recent growth followed a dip caused by a mid-decade drought. In Meade County, the state’s No. 2 cattle county, the herd dipped to 110,000 head in 2007 after it had been at 117,000 in 2006.

The county rebounded and showed a herd size of 120,000 in 2008 and had hit a recent high of 125,000 at the start of 2013.

At the same time, Butte County’s herd made a leap, growing from 52,000 in 2005 and 2006 to 64,000 by 2008, a 23 percent jump. Butte’s numbers hovered at that level until 2013, when it ticked up again to 67,000.