RAPID CITY, SD – An estimated 75,000 head of cattle were killed after an unexpected blizzard hit the South Dakota region on Oct. 4. Estimates of cattle killed by the mega-storm range from 20,000 to 100,000 head, according to WQAD Channel 8 in the Quad Cities area.

Some ranchers lost 20 to 50 percent of their herd, the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association said.

Because these losses occurred as the government shutdown rambles on, ranchers can’t document their losses with the US Department of Agriculture’s Farm Services Agency. So many cattle died during this blizzard that beef prices could escalate for consumers, some experts warn.