Tips To Successfully Manage Your Cattle Through The Wet Season
It’s becoming apparent that climate change has left the Australian environment with harsher weather, and heavier rains being one such by-product. Flooding and drought are becoming increasingly common even though they are opposite ends of the spectrum. Due to this change in weather patterns, managing livestock has become increasingly difficult. Therefore, preparing for extremities and employing new livestock management processes is key to the future profitability of your farm.
Below are some ways in which farmers can improve livestock management in order to adapt to a variety of weather conditions.
Grazing Land Management
Since pastures are more prone to damage during wet seasons, maintaining adequate natural feed across the farmland maybe difficult. Moreover, muddy pastures also restrict the regrowth of new shoots, with severe effects predominately seen near shaded areas that prevent evaporation. While pasture damage can sometimes be unavoidable in the wet seasons, many preventable steps can be taken to minimize losses.
More frequent paddock rotation, increasing the amount of space per cow in a paddock and constructing proper drainage can help with the problem. If pasture damage seems inevitable, steps such as feeding pads and purchasing additional dry feed can help cattle struggling to feed.
During an excessively wet season, cattle endure additional stress, thereby adding challenges when weaning calves. Calving areas need to be relatively dry, free from manure, and provide a windbreak, as strong winds are more common during this time.
Weaning rates during the wet season can be increased to allow cows to return to breeding conditions sooner and boost calf survival rates. It is recommended to feed newly weaned calves with good quality hay such as Lucerne for six weeks to stimulate growth and achieve market weight sooner. However, cattle weaned at a heavier weight, around 180 to 220kg, can go straight onto fresh spelled grass. Lighter amounts of hay will help their rumen function properly before they get onto better feed.
Hormones and Vaccinations
Because bacteria grow faster in warm and wet conditions, a very wet season in the northern parts of Australia leaves cattle more susceptible to disease and sickness. Areas that are wet and exposed to large amounts of manure have a further increased risk of growing bacteria. Herd health can be improved through proactive hormone and vaccination boosters, allowing livestock to remain healthy even when exposed to bacteria.
It is important to know what types of diseases cattle need to be vaccinated against and what types of diseases they are most prone to. A vaccination program plays an essential role in effective herd management. Farmers should consult their local veterinary clinic to be aware of the diseases most relevant to their area.
Develop Infrastructure in Strategic Places
Infrastructure should be developed in strategic places that account for unforeseeable weather conditions and areas that would become troublesome. Cattle yards should be developed on higher elevation areas, making them less prone to flooding or becoming unusable during flash flooding. If placing cattle yards on higher ground is not possible, building up the area underneath the cattle-yard before construction is possible. This allows parts of a paddock to flood but not the cattle yards.
When it becomes increasingly difficult for cattle to feed due to the rains, a dry feed may be supplemented to assist with digestion and provide adequate nutrition. Areas more prone to flooding should have dry feed laid on higher ground or away from water runoff to ensure that there is no waste.
While extreme weather may present farmers with an abundance of challenges, many proactive steps can be taken to mitigate its effects. The value in taking proactive and preventative steps cannot be understated, as managing problems as they arise is more costly.
Steel Supplies Charters Towers is a proud provider of high-quality cattle management equipment and has been servicing Queensland for over 15 years. Should you or your farm require equipment or further advice on managing your cattle through this wet season, get in contact with us today.
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