David Slade had two cows die in his paddock, after being struck by lightning in a thunderstorm.

David Slade had two cows die in his paddock, after being struck by lightning in a thunderstorm.
On Tuesday morning, David Slade woke up to find a cow and calf dead in his paddock where lightning had struck.

A severe thunderstorm warning was issued by the Bureau of Metrology for Monday night in the region near his farm north west of Mount Barker.

Mr Slade described the storm as the worst he had seen pass through in years.

"The thunder and lightning, [it] was horrific.

"I haven't seen a lightning show like that for a while," he said.

"There was just a lot of thunder, and the storms moving very slowly, so you get a lot of strikes.

"It was striking probably 50 times around the house."

Mr Slade said it was the second time he'd lost stock to lightning in several decades farming.

"It's not nice to lose cattle because, cattle and sheep are your way of life," he said.

"If you're a livestock producer, you care for the animals," he said.

He said he had not heard of any of his neighbours encountering such severe damages from the storm.

Lightning stock deaths on record

Lightning killing livestock is uncommon, but not unheard of.

Dr Enoch Bergman is a veterinarian with Swans Veterinary Services, based in Esperance, and he has seen a few lightning-stricken carcasses over his past 20 years in WA.

"It happens a bit more than people think," he said.

"I would not be surprised if whenever there is a lightning storm, we lose the occasional animal."

Dr Bergman said that fatalities were more likely to occur near a fence line.

"If the fence is struck electricity will conduct down the fence line, it can affect a lot of animals," he said.

Paddock strike uncommon

This case is particularly unusual, as the cows were struck in the middle of the paddock, not along the fence.

"The calf must have been very close to the mother to get hit," Mr Slade said.

"She had twin calves, so I think that other twin calf would have been very lucky."

The last time Mr Slade had lightning kill livestock on his property was 28 years ago.

"Lightning struck the fence and melted the wire and dropped seven steers."

"I think cows probably a bit more susceptible because they stand around trees in the storm," he said.

Dr Bergman said that wooden fences were more susceptible to causing a chain reaction.

"Electricity wants to go the path of least resistance so, if you have got a wooden fence line, with no good Earth stakes, it's much more likely to conduct that electricity and be a bigger attractant to that lightning strike," he said.