Numlock Sunday: Kylie Mohr on the wildfire smoke choking the country

By Walt Hickey

Welcome to the Numlock Sunday edition.

This week, I spoke to Kylie Mohr, who wrote “For dairy cows, where there’s smoke, there’s less milk” for High Country News. Here's what I wrote about it:

When wildfires reduce air quality and make fine particulate matter go up, new research shows that dairy cows can suffer. It leads to a decline in the cows’ production as well as a higher rate of medical maladies. The average dairy cow in the U.S. can produce an average of 65 pounds of milk per day, and cows in areas with significantly diminished air quality saw an average drop of three pounds per day. This is a particularly big deal because 40 percent of the nation’s milk comes from farms in the West, which is where wildfires are a serious and accelerating problem.

I loved this because as the West continues to suffer wildfire after wildfire, the impacts that these blazes have on the people and ecosystems of the entire country remain to be understood. There’s so much we don’t know ab…

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