Between 1,000 and 1,500 head of cattle have died across South Dakota from excessive heat and humidity, and those numbers will likely climb as more reports come in, state officials say.
State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven says his office was still compiling numbers, but reporting is not mandatory and many people dealing with cattle losses likely haven't had time to check in.
The losses include those of Estelline rancher Roland Rust, who says more than 500 of his cattle have died in the heat this week.
Temperatures across the state were in the mid-90s to the lower 100s Tuesday, and high humidity drove heat indices to between 105 and 115, according to the National Weather Service.
Oedekoven says the biggest problem for cattle has been that there's been no reprieve in the evenings.
"Typically during hot weather, at least it cools off in the evening and cattle can kind of cool off and dissipate that heat that they've built up during the daytime," Oedekoven says.
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