How Farms Can Recover Effectively After Floods
The recent flooding in Maryborough, disrupted the livelihoods of many. In times like this it is important to assist one another where possible. Strong currents and submerged paddocks underwater frequently cause significant property damage and danger to livestock, with the potential to bankrupt a farm.
Farmers are no strangers to dealing with natural disasters. Unexpected natural disasters like flash flooding create issues that are often noticed only once it’s too late. Moreover, to make bad situations worse, often at times like these, issues that have been built up over time rise to the surface.
Over the years, farmers have used a variety of intuitive methods to mitigate the effects of natural disasters on their farms, here are a few ways through which you can prepare your farm for harsh reality of flooding.
Farm Flood Disaster Planning
Damaging flood water can cause an array of issues on a farm and being prepared in case of an emergency is the first step to reducing long-term impacts as much as possible. A flood disaster plan should be your way of clearly outlining all the best steps to take in the case of an emergency to prepare your cattle and equipment for overcoming any damage. Step one of the plan should be identification.
Identification refers to observations made about the farm that will aid in the response of the disaster. This can include identifying higher fields on the property that livestock can be moved to, tools, machinery and stock that need to be moved and how they can be safely relocated, and identification of any chemicals or fuels that are on the property that have the potential to contaminate floodwater.
When preparing a flood disaster plan it is also a good idea to consider the purchase of useful stock such as sandbags that can be used to prevent water from entering barns or sheds during a flood.
Learning from the Maryborough floods, it is important for farmers to create a property that reduces the impact of a disaster once presented with one. This could be investing in better cattle handling equipment that can be optimised to efficiently aid in the handling of a disaster. Farmers who need to move cattle around require fencing that is both visible and strong enough to prevent livestock from running through and injuring themselves. In this case, poorly placed fencing is likely to be damaged during periods of flash floods, leaving farmers unable to contain cattle inside the paddock and aid in moving them.
Focusing on the farm’s convenience and identifying what will assist in the protection of cattle can help farmers discover what aspects of the farm should be changed, upgraded or left as is.
Following a flood, livestock might be particularly vulnerable to parasites and diseases. Biting or nuisance bug populations may also grow. In order to ensure animal health and welfare after a flood, it is important to keep cattle away from stockyards or areas where there has been substantial build-up of faeces and urine. Keep an eye on lactating cattle since muck and germs induce environmental mastitis. Remember that surviving animals’ most urgent needs will be clean water, then calories, and then dry shelter. Ensure the inspection of hay and grain for any water damage or toxic mould growth as bacterial diseases such as pasteurellosis, salmonellosis and botulism are caused by the ingestion of contaminated feed.
The impact of flooding is determined by water flow and temperature, soil type, flooding depth and duration, plant health and species, and the amount of silt or debris deposited. These elements will decide whether pastures recover effectively or need to be resown. Pasture health should also be maintained and cared for in ways that can help it survive during times of high rainfall.
While there is no way to completely avoid a natural disaster, safety measures can be set in place to reduce impact and recover from a flooding event.
Steel Supplies Charter Towers understands the harsh Australian conditions that farmers are constantly presented with and want to provide our famers with the best tips and solutions to speed up recovery and to reduce loss.
Image source: Shutterstock (552569632)