By Chuck Woodbury
Gail and I were driving on old highway 80 east of Wellton, Arizona. It’s a service road these days along I-8. Yuma is about 25 miles west, hugging the California border.
About five miles east of Wellton we got our first whiff of cows. A stockyard was coming up, I just knew it. I was right. Oh my goodness, there were more cows than you would ever expect to see in one place! Gail said I should call them cattle. I know I should, but I forget. To me a cow is a cow.
The stockyard must cover a square mile. You can see from the aerial photo below (thanks, Google) how big it is. I drove up to the fence to take pictures. Gail mooed like a cow and the cows just came running. I don’t think they were thinking of anything. Cows are not known for their smarts.
ANYWAY, THE SMELL WAS HORRIBLE, real stinky. I could see about 10 houses within smelling distance of the stockyard. I said to Gail that I bet that when the people who live in those houses have guests who mention the terrible smell, they probably say, “Oh, I don’t smell anything.”
The population of Yuma is 91,000. According to the 2015 Arizona State Agriculture Overview, there are about 911,000 cattle in the area. That’s roughly ten to one — cows to people. I said to Gail, “That’s a lot of hamburger.”
I think most of these cows are in this particular cattle yard. Let’s say, just guessing, that there are 600,000. According to Google a cow produces 65 pounds of poop a day. So that’s 37,000 pounds, or more than 18 tons. That’s one and a half times the weight of my 32-foot motorhome — every single day. That’s a whole lot of poopy!
I’m going to take a wild guess and say there are also 2 billion flies.
If you paid me a million dollars to live close to that cattle yard for, say, five years, I’d have to think twice. No, I don’t think I would do it. Maybe for two million.