Missing Cattle After Heavy Flooding

September 26, 2006 p.m. CDT

RANDOLPH COUNTY, AR -- Many cattle farmers in Region 8 are missing up to half of their herds after this weekend's flooding.

Since the flood waters receded on Saturday, cattle farmers are spending their days searching for their missing herds.

"People right now are just trying to find out how many cattle they have gone and trying to find if they got washed out and come up on a neighbors or even further down the river there," said Michael Davis, a Veterinarian from Pocahontas.

Before the sun rose on Saturday morning, the farmers knew this storm was different.

"I think as much rain as we had this time, it was all the local water and flooding that made the water come up there.  The creeks were as big as I've ever seen them in Randolph County," said Davis.

"From a little after dark at eight o'clock on Friday evening to about four o'clock in the morning, the river had risen 18 feet in eight hours," said Calvin Botard.

With the waters moving so quickly the cattle were trapped at first, and then floated down the river.

"Here we had cattle that washed at least a half  mile or a mile down the river that we were able to get back ourselves, but I know cattle that's floated three to five miles down the river," said Davis.

While we did stumble across a few dead cattle on Tuesday, these farmers are finding more cattle alive than dead.

"They've found a few dead ones, not a whole lot.  You'd be surprised.  The cattle, they can swim too, and they might've saved themselves," said Davis.

When the waters rose the quick moving waters took out a lot of the fences in the pastures, and carried cattle far away.

"The rest of the cattle, the 17 or 20 heads, got in the river and headed downstream," said Botard.

Many cattle farmers have a distinctive mark on their cattle, farmer Calvin Botard uses a 90 degree angle cut into the cow's right ear.

If you have any cattle that don't belong to you or if you are missing cattle you can contact your local extension office.

The number for the Randolph County Extension office is 870-892-4504.

The number for the Sharp County Extension Office is 870-994-7363.