Tragedy struck a family in the southwest Saskatchewan community of Mankota as the Briere family lost 28 of their cattle after they were struck and killed by lightning.
Glen Briere and his wife Darla were out of town over the weekend when his brother-in-law was checking on the cows and discovered 14 cows, 13 calves and one herd sire dead along a fence in their pasture near Mankota, which is 270 kilometres southwest of Regina.
“It was not a pretty sight,” Glen said. “I’ve never seen nothing like this. I’ve heard of a few other people that over the years lost some, and I think I think I can count on one hand how many cows that we’ve lost by lightning.”
Darla Briere said there is no way the financial impact of the loss.
“We had a lot of good calves and cows killed in that, and in the purebred business, it is genetics. You work for years to get their genetics to where they are so you can produce the best animal we can keep in our heard to produce bulls that we can sell in our sale, so really, there is no value on the genetics that we’ve lost.”
Before this incident, the family had an 80-head herd; however, most dead animals were not insured, except for the bull. The Briere’s are looking at any resources that might be able to help them recover some of the loss.
“We’ve looked into a few programs, but nothing is so far helping, and we are in the Agri-Stability program, but we will just have to put in some numbers and see what they say for that.”
AgriStability is a risk management program designed to help farms facing significant margin declines by production loss, increased costs or market conditions.
Despite the loss, Darla said they are staying positive and thankful for all the support they’ve received from family, friends, and those they don’t even know.