CO Winter Storm-Cattle

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Colorado ranchers appear to have averted massive cattle die-offs from last week's blizzard.

Extension Agent Leonard Pruett says about 35-hundred cattle are believed to have died on rangeland in six counties in southeastern Colorado.

That's about five percent of the 70-thousand cattle in the area.

But Pruett says the toll may rise because some of the surviving animals still could get sick from stress and dehydration.

And feedlot owners are still calculating their losses.

Ranchers, the National Guard, state employees and volunteers have been using planes, helicopters, snowmobiles and other vehicles to locate cattle stranded by deep snow and tall drifts.

Nearly three thousand bales of hay have been dropped from helicopters the past three days.

The National Guard is suspending hay drops from the air but will keep helping with ground deliveries.

Besides cattle losses, ranchers face rising hay prices because of the storms that also affected western Kansas and parts of Nebraska and Oklahoma.

The price of hay has jumped from about 150 dollars a ton to as much as 210 a ton.