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Vet says ND cattle loses pegged at more than 80k

FARGO, N.D. (AP)--A North Dakota State University Extension Service veterinarian estimates about 80,000 cattle likely have been lost to the harsh winter and spring flooding.

NDSU Extension veterinarian Charlie Stoltenow says it will take time to tally the exact numbers, and for cattle herds to recover. State officials say producers have reported nearly 25,000 livestock losses so far.

Stoltenow says the threat of anthrax among livestock also is an issue. He says floodwaters helped distribute anthrax spores to new areas of the state.

Anthrax in livestock is caused by bacteria in the soil. A vaccine is available but it must be given each year.

"Miles and miles and miles of fence are gone," Stoltenow said. "We have acres and acres and acres either under water or 6 inches of silt on top of what used to be pastureland, and now it's all mud."

The winter was long and farmers came into it with low feed supplies after years of drought, he said. Some of the cattle were older, kept to feed over the winter until prices improved, he said.

"It was just a tough, tough, tough winter on our livestock producers," Stoltenow said.

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