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April Showers Bring…Mud
Apr 03, 2009
By Sara Brown
Yes, it’s getting green in farm country, thanks to spring rains and early temperature spikes. But cattlemen should pay close attention to the cattle herd during this time.
Spring rains bring obvious problems with muddy lots and pastures, quick-rising creeks and ponds and balancing hay supplies with new-season pasture growth.
Research from a Kansas State University study says mud can greatly impact your cattle performance. In the study, mud reduced daily gains of animals by 25% to 37% and increased the amount of feed required per pound of gain by 20% to 33%. Animals in muddy conditions also showed an increase need for energy to maintain their maintenance requirement.
Muddy conditions will also set your calf crop up for potential disaster. Cows lying in mud end up with teats contaminated with a combination of dirt and manure. As the calf nurses, it takes in a mouthful of bacteria and/or viruses that could cause diarrhea. Ensuring the mama cow and calf have a dry area to rest will go a long way to maintaining herd health.
This spring, keep your eye focused on the green grass, but don’t let the weather knock your herd back. Ensure your facilities and land areas are providing an environment for success. If you have muddy pastures, providing bedding around traffic areas or more frequently cleaning facilities can go a long way.
What are some of your tips for calving season? Post them here, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.