Dozens of livestock have died near Saskatchewan, Canada due to blue-green algae blooms. One bison rancher lost 40 animals-- primarily bulls and heavier milking females, reports the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. "They're more active, so their systems require more moisture. They drink more water, then -- bang," says rancher Ivan Thomson.
He says some died within 30 minutes of ingesting the water -- sometimes while still standing in the pond. Others lived nearly two days, finally succumbing to the toxins accumulated in their livers.
Another rancher lost 14 cows and two bulls before he began treating his water to avert further losses.
Blue-green algae have been choking lakes in many parts of Canada this summer. Under the right conditions, the microscopic organisms proliferate, emitting toxins harmful to humans and animals. Farmers are blaming the excessive blue-green algae growth on wet weather in July followed by a wave of extreme heat.
For more on dealing with blue-green algae, read "Watch For Blue-Green Algae In Stockwater" (June 15 issue BEEF Cow-Calf Weekly).
-- Joe Roybal