What is in this article?:
- Preparation reduces winter headaches for livestock producers
- Providing proper bedding
- With La Niña's arrival, the forecast is for another winter colder and wetter than normal, and livestock producers need to prepare.
Providing proper bedding
Providing proper bedding for cattle - both indoors and out - also can help reduce cold stress and maintain energy requirements. It also can help prevent ailments such as frostbite.
"For cows and bulls that are outside, it's a good idea to provide some bedding for those cattle so the bulls don't get frostbite on their scrotums and cows don't get chapped teats," Lemenager said. "If these cattle are lying on cold, frozen ground, they lose a lot of heat to that cold surface. Bedding might just mean unrolling a low-quality hay bale, corn stalks or wheat straw."
Having warm, dry accommodations is especially important for the youngest of the herd.
"We've got a number of our producers in Indiana and across the Midwest that have spring calving herds," Lemenager said. "If we've got cows calving in time frames where blizzards and wind chill factors can become a problem, that newborn calf is in an extremely vulnerable position to experience hypothermia. Making sure we've got an area prepared where the calf has some protection from the elements can save its life."
Lemenager also recommended that farm managers develop a winter emergency plan that is posted in an obvious location and communicated to other farm personnel. It should include telephone numbers for those that may need to be called upon for help.
"When it comes to preparing for winter, keep in mind that we're not worried about a cold, snowy day here and there," Lemenager said. "What we're concerned about is the longer-term events that last several days."