Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wolf predation of cattle affects calf weight in Montana

Date:
January 22, 2014
Source:
The University of Montana
Summary:
A recent study found that wolf predation of cattle contributes to lower weight gain in calves on western Montana ranches. This leads to an economic loss at sale several times higher than the direct reimbursement ranchers receive for a cow killed by wolves.

A recent study by University of Montana faculty and graduate students found that wolf predation of cattle contributes to lower weight gain in calves on western Montana ranches. This leads to an economic loss at sale several times higher than the direct reimbursement ranchers receive for a cow killed by wolves.

Related Articles


The study found that wolves living on the landscape with cattle have no effect on herd weight, but once a ranch has a confirmed wolf kill, average calf weight decreases relative to if that ranch had not experienced a wolf depredation.

"Ranchers have been saying for years that wolves cause weight loss in cattle, but nobody ever had done any research on the topic," said Derek Kellenberg, a co-author on the study and UM associate professor and chair of the Department of Economics.

Kellenberg worked with UM Associate Professor Mark Hebblewhite from the Wildlife Biology Program and graduate students Joseph Ramler and Carolyn Sime. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks also cooperated on the study, which analyzed data from ranches in western Montana, including 15 years of records on ranch husbandry, satellite-generated climatological data, spatial data on wolf pack locations and confirmed depredations on 18 ranches.

The study quantifies the economic impact of weight loss after a confirmed wolf kill for an average ranch consisting of 264 head of calves. It finds that a decrease of 22 pounds in the average weight of calves across the herd implies a $6,679 loss at sale for an affected ranch.

"When you compare that to the direct reimbursement of the cow that was killed -- about $900 on average -- these indirect costs are about seven-and-a-half times the direct cost of depredation," Kellenberg said.

The study notes that while the economic impact of lower herd weights caused by wolf depredation is not insignificant to ranchers, other ranch-specific husbandry practices and climatological and environmental variables such as annual precipitation, average temperature and snowfall explain a much larger proportion of variance in calf weight over the years than do wolf affects. In fact, these other factors explain the vast majority of the accounted-for variation in annual calf weights.

The study started as a senior thesis by then-undergraduate student Ramler, collecting data from public cattle auction records. When he decided to pursue a master's in economics from UM, the group started collecting and analyzing data from a survey of individual western Montana ranchers.

Kellenberg hopes the study will help inform policymakers and ranchers as they work on issues related to wolf management.

"This study helps quantify some of the indirect costs that have not previously been accounted for," he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The University of Montana. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Derek Kellenberg et al. Crying Wolf? A Spatial Analysis of Wolf Location and Depredations on Calf Weight. Journal of Agricultural Economics, January 2014

Cite This Page:

The University of Montana. "Wolf predation of cattle affects calf weight in Montana." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122104131.htm>.
The University of Montana. (2014, January 22). Wolf predation of cattle affects calf weight in Montana. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122104131.htm
The University of Montana. "Wolf predation of cattle affects calf weight in Montana." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122104131.htm (accessed March 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

AP (Feb. 28, 2015) Researchers following endangered killer whales spotted a baby orca off the coast of Washington state, the third birth documented this winter but still leaving the population dangerously low. (Feb. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Drinks for Your Health

The Best Drinks for Your Health

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) When it comes to health and fitness, there&apos;s lots of talk about what foods to eat, but there are a few liquids that can promote good nutrition. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the healthiest drinks to boost your health! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cherries, Snap Peas and More Tasty Spring Produce

Cherries, Snap Peas and More Tasty Spring Produce

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) From sweet cherries to sugar snap peas, spring is the peak season for some of the tastiest and healthiest produce. Krystin Goodwin (@Krystingoodwin) has the best seasonal fruits and veggies to spring in to good health! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins