How to Keep Your Beef Cattle Herd Healthy During a Drought

As a beef cattle farmer, it is essential to maintain a healthy herd all year round. However, when faced with drought conditions, the challenges increase. Lack of rainfall and scarce pasture can severely impact the well-being of your cattle. 

As a result, it’s vital to adopt proper herd management techniques during a drought to minimize the adverse effects on your cattle’s health. SoMo Farm and Ranch explores various tips on how to keep your beef cattle herd healthy during a drought.

Related Post: Manual vs Auto Livestock Catches, Differences & Benefits

Forage Management

One of the biggest challenges during a drought is a scarcity of forage for your cattle. When there isn’t enough food available, your cattle can become malnourished and sick, leading to long-term health problems.

To ensure your beef cattle herd stays healthy during a drought, manage your forage resources effectively. One way to do this is through rotational grazing. By dividing your pasture into smaller paddocks and rotating your cattle through them, they’ll graze the grass evenly, giving certain sections time to recover before being grazed again.

Another way to manage forage during a drought is to focus on reducing your herd size. With fewer cattle, there will be less pressure on your pasture, allowing the grass to grow more freely. You can sell some of your cattle or send them to a feedlot until the drought subsides.

Minimizing Parasite Burdens

When cattle are exposed to hot and dry conditions, they tend to be more susceptible to parasitic infections. Parasites such as internal worms, lice, and ticks can cause significant stress, reduced weight gain, decreased milk production in lactating mothers with calves, and even death if left untreated.

Maintaining proper hygiene on your farm can go a long way in preventing the spread of parasites. Regularly clean your barns, feeding troughs, and water bins. This will prevent the accumulation of feces and other waste materials that attract parasites.

Developing and implementing a pest and deworming program is essential for controlling the parasite population. Consult with your veterinarian to create a customized program for your herd.

Nutritional Supplementation

Consult with a veterinarian to determine the specific needs of your cattle during a drought. This will help give you tips for cattle nutrition to maintain their health and well-being. SoMo Farm & Ranch has several great cattle nutritional supplements, including Crystalyx, to give cattle the extra boost they need during drought conditions.

Supplementing with hay, while not ideal during the summer due to supply and demand, represents a great way to supplement your cattle’s nutrition during a drought. Choose high-quality hay free from mold or dust. Other supplements, such as protein and mineral blocks, can also be provided to help maintain the proper nutritional balance in your cattle’s diet.

Make sure to monitor the body condition score (BCS) of your cattle to ensure they are not losing too much weight. This will help you adjust their diet or supplement intake as needed to prevent further weight loss.

Cattle Watering Systems

Hot and dry conditions of drought can quickly deplete your herd’s water supply and lead to dehydration and other health issues. A good cattle waterer can make a huge difference in keeping your herd hydrated during these tough times.

A cattle waterer should provide a constant supply of clean, fresh water to your cattle. It should also be able to hold enough water to keep up with the demand of your herd. A good waterer will have a large enough capacity that you won’t have to fill it multiple times a day, saving you time and effort.

Related Post: Summer Nutrition Tips for Cows & Their Growing Calves

Cattle Supplies in Springfield, MO

You can find cattle waterers as well as other nutritional supplies for your herd at SoMo Farm and Ranch Supply. Visit our store in Springfield, MO, contact us, or call (417) 865-0312.