Spring brings rain and warm sunshine, but it also brings new issues for cows and their new calves. SoMo Farm & Ranch discusses five spring challenges to be mindful of when you’re a cattle owner.
There are many common diseases that can affect your cattle, so spring should be a time for prevention. You need to keep both young calves and cattle up-to-date on routine vaccinations. Some serious diseases, like bovine respiratory disease, can be prevented by vaccinating young calves.
Some other common diseases to watch out for include:
- Grass tetany
- Pink eye
- Foot rot
Mud & Rain
Excessive rain and mud keeps the ground soft but can cause problems for hooves. Constant moisture softens the tissue and causes cracks and breaks, which allow bacteria to invade. A common problem that can occur is foot rot, a bacterial infection that might lead to pain and lesions.
Try to move cattle to drier areas during times of consistent rain. You can create small mounds that allow cattle to get up and out of any standing water, so their hooves have an opportunity to dry out.
Flies & Worms
Some common types of flies that might bother your cattle this year include horn flies, face flies, and stable flies. To deal with these pests, you must begin prevention in the spring, or they are likely to become out of control. Flies that bite and feed on cattle can cause serious infections and diseases.
Some methods of control include oral medicines and insecticides that can be applied to the animal through dust or sprays. You will likely have to treat several times throughout the spring and summer.
The same goes for worms. Follow a strict deworming schedule to ensure your cattle stay free of parasites.
Moisture & Weeds
With the increased spring rain comes growth for both grass and weeds. Weeds need to be taken care of as soon as they start popping up, or they will begin taking over your fields. You don’t want the grass in your pastures being replaced by inedible weeds and your cattle left with nothing to graze.
Start treating weeds as early as you can. There are many popular herbicides that can help rid your fields of weeds without harming the integrity of your grass.
Cutting your hay too long or too short can affect its nutritional value for your cattle. Be conscious that you are both cutting and storing your hay correctly so that you end up with high-quality bales for your cattle to eat in colder weather.
Cows lacking proper nutrition can have problems with vision, coat quality, and conception rates. They may also be more susceptible to infections and diseases.