How to Manage Your Livestock in the Extended Wet Period
“It’s been raining for so long.”
The words of the classic Dragon song from the 80’s come to mind! The Hume Weir is at 97% and the releases from the dam are currently just under 100,000 megs a day. Flooding is wide spread with one of the Nation’s major highways cut.
What does it mean for our livestock?
Standing in wet conditions for any period of time can bring about all sorts of health issues! We are currently seeing a lot of lameness in both cattle and sheep. Using a zinc supplement on a regular basis certainly makes the animals more resistant to these issues by ensuring the keratin that makes up the hooves is harder and by boosting the immune system to allow the animal to fight off the bacteria that cause these problems.
Stock that are supplemented regularly with a good general purpose mineral supplement are proven to be able to fight off disease more readily; have more robust immune systems and cope with feed changes more unhesitatingly.
The difficult part about mineral supplementation in a wet year is delivering the product to the animals in a form that remains palatable and does not leach minerals during rain events.
Performance Feeds WeatherPro range uses a unique techniology to ensure the lick is waterproof and will not leach minerals or become unattractive to stock during rain events.
The WeatherPro products are best in free draining containers that the water will not pool in. Performance Feeds have had a container designed to hold 3 bags of product that these can be purchased from your local reseller.
A common question I get asked is “how many containers to a certain number of stock?” The best answer I have is put the lick out and observe how the stock behave. Are these animals hanging back unable to get to the containers? If so, put out another bin. It is best to have too much out rather than not enough; after all it in not going to get weather damaged.
Bloat has been a significant issue in areas this year due to fantastic pasture growth and plenty of legume based pastures being available. There are things that can be done to minimise stock losses. Make sure hungry stock are not turned out onto high risk pastures, and/or feed some hay in the yards or the paddock. Use an appropriate treatments such as, WeatherPro Prevent, which uses Rumensin as its active ingredient to help prevent bloat occurring. Rumensin is used to alter the rumen bacteria; ensuring a reduction in the methane producing bacteria thereby reducing the chance of frothy bloat. In addition to efficient bacteria for weight gain and milk production. We have very good reports of success with this product and being able to utilise those high risk pastures certainly guarantees a good return on investment.
Going into the summer period with plenty of long green feed increases the risk of flystrike in sheep. Ensure sheep are treated by jetting with the appropriate treatment to prevent flystirke. Make sure treatment is repeated in the event that the rain continues as this will make the jetting less effective over time.
There will be a high chance of Pink Eye being a problem this year, the flies are likely to be bad due to all the green grass. It may be wise to use a product to help keep the flies off the cattle or to vaccinate more valuable stock such as sale bulls.
With a little bit of planning and prevention it should not be too difficult to get through this period with highly productive livestock operations and it surely beats choking on the dust!!