CATASTROPHIC flooding in the state of Nebraska may have wiped out as many as one million calves, according to the US department of agriculture.

The floods were caused by rain and melting snow brought by the 'bomb cyclone' that hit the mid-western states last month, also affecting Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, South Dakota and Minnesota.

Vast areas of the state were left underwater, wiping out crops and livestock, and prompting substantial movements of emergency fodder from farmers outwith the flood zones. Governor of Nebraska, Pete Ricketts, said: “From an agricultural point, we think we have got at least $400 million in livestock losses and $440 million in crop losses. We think the public infrastructure losses are in the hundreds of millions of dollars also.

“This is the worst and most widespread flooding damage we’ve had in our state’s history,” he added, noting that 65 counties out of the state's 93 had declared themselves in a state of emergency.

“What we’re seeing is widespread destruction to public infrastructure, homes and businesses," said Mr Ricketts. “This really is the biggest disaster – as far as damage – we have ever faced in our state.”