A massive lightning strike has wiped out 32 certified organic milk cows, reports Daily Mail.
Dairy farmer Jared Blackwelder made the gruesome discovery on Saturday, after a thunderstorm swept through his organic farm near Cabool, Missouri.
Blackwelder said he went out at 4am for the morning milking as he does every day, and that as he was returning from the field a bolt of lightning came down close enough to feel right on top of him.
‘It was so bright I couldn’t hardly see,’ he told the Springfield News-Leader. ‘It just brought fire down the fences.’
When he returned to the field later that day, he beheld a horrific sight.
‘I went down over the hill and seen them laying there,’ Blackwelder said, welling over with emotion.
‘They were just piled on top of each other. They were huddled up, trying to get out of rain.’
The cows had likely huddled together in the rainstorm when they were struck.
Thirty-two of Blackwelder’s roughly 150-head herd had been wiped out in a single blow, a loss he estimates at roughly $60,000.
A veterinarian confirmed that lightning was the cause of death, adding that he’d never seen more than six cows killed in a lightning strike.
Though Blackwelder has tried to take the loss in his stride, the pragmatic farmer admits it has struck an emotional blow.
‘It’s not like they are pets. But the ones I’m milking, I’ve raised every one of them,’ he said.
‘Dairy cattle are a little different because you mess with them twice a day. It knocks you hard.’
Blackwelder intends to rebuild his herd, and does not plan to move the carcasses until an insurance adjuster arrives to verify his claim.
After that, he plans on getting hold of an excavator to bury the dead cattle.
‘When they get hit by lightning, you can’t use them,’ he noted. ‘It blows them up from the inside.’
Source: The Nation