Livestock Farming – Challenges & Concerns During Spring

Livestock Farming – Challenges & Concerns During Spring

The spring weather can often bring severe cold storms and snow in the USA. The spring weather and snow may cause cattle farming and beef production to become a challenging job. Snow makes grazing for the cattle difficult and cause shortages of food. Below normal temperatures could also negatively impact the growth of crops. The effects of drought and cold could also impact into the calf into the weaning season, breeding season, and calving.  Cattle and beef farmers are facing current market volatility of supply and demands in winter and spring of 2014.

livestock nutrition

The cold weather and cattle farming

Winter weather can be a major cause for reducing beef production. Beef production during the winter and spring went down about 6.9% this year, compared to last year’s production, with a total decline in cattle slaughter up to 7.5%. The average cattle carcass has gained about 4 pounds this year. However steer carcasses has dropped in weight while heifer and cow carcasses have gained weight.  A large percentage of total cattle slaughter consists of steer slaughter. The number of animals slaughtered during this winter and spring has gone down to about 9.4% this year.

Schottisches Hochlandrind

This year, the cattle farmers around the globe have faced unusually cold winter weather. This presented them with challenges of providing feed, water and proper shelter for het animals.  Winter weather also makes it challenging for the farmers to provide health care for the animals. The winter weather stopped the wheat growth in the early January this year, causing a complete depletion of wheat pasture in many areas. The increased demand for feed has also caused shortages in hay supply, making hay price go high.

Cattle producers using winter wheat to feed their cattle has to make other feed arrangements for their cattle farm. Winter weather impacts the cattle at feedlots and grazing farms and those impacts can be witnessed directly in the meat market. During the cold seasons, the cattle need to be fed with higher quality fodder due to the shortage of forage on the pastures for grazing.  Grain and silage from corn can be a great supplement in addition to hay in the winter. They also need extra feed to stay healthy and cope with the winter weather to produce extra heat and energy.

Calf breeding and health

When calf is born into the world, they suddenly face a change in temperature. The temperatures they are born into are not always favorable. North Dakota State University livestock stewardship Gerald Stokka says that special animal husbandry skills are needed for the calving seasons during spring to avoid further complications later.

Here are a few tips for breeding of calves:

  • Extra bedding should be provided for pregnant cows
  • Extra attention to cow that is cold and slow to give birth as well as new burns that are slow to get up.
  • Having provisions for extra heat for cows and calves that are cold by either putting them in a hot box or warmer environment out of the wild.
  • Giving warm water baths to calves suffering form hypothermia. In this condition, warm water is more effective than dry heat for calves. Find out more about Re-warming Methods for Cold-stressed Calves.

Risks of parasites during spring

fodderThe spring season brings higher risk for cattle and sheep parasite. The new born and young ones are most susceptible to parasites, and needs to be taken care of through medication. The risk of parasites has increased this spring due to the harshness of winter seen so far this year. One way of avoiding higher chances of infection in thy younger sheep and cattle is to graze them in a separate pasture. If the pasture was used for young lambs the previous year, avoid the same pasture for new burns this year. There is an increased chance of disease infection following the February cold weather. It is important to manage livestock health and treat all parasites such as gastroenteritis, and other diseases like liver fluke,

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Source : Sustainable Livestock Nutrition

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