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Dealing with flooded pastures

Winter Storm Goliath has packed a wallop across most of the country between blizzard conditions in some areas and massive rain and flooding in others. And with forecasters predicting one of the strongest El Niños on record, excessive rain and flooding may well be the rule instead of the exception this year. Below are some tips and considerations in dealing with flooded pastures and fields:

  • Prior to an emergency, identify locations where livestock can be moved in the event of a flood and make a plan on how to move them

  • If you expecting a flood event, move livestock to this high ground if possible. If flooding has already occurred, move livestock to dry ground if possible. Examine livestock for possible injuries from submerged debris or fencing. Check on tetanus vaccination status for horses or other companion animals.

  • Provide clean, uncontaminated water. If fresh drinking water not available, standing water can be disinfected with chlorine bleach at the rate of 8 to 12 drops per gallon if necessary. Twenty drops is equal to 1 cc; therefore, 120 cc of bleach would treat a 300 gallon tank at 8 drops per gallon

  • Discard hay or feed that was exposed to flood waters even if it doesn’t look any different. Contamination from chemicals or pathogens in the flood waters coupled with possible spoilage and mold from wet conditions make the risks too high. If you are short on hay or feed, contact your local Cooperative Extension office or Emergency Management offices. They often coordinate donations in disaster situations

  • Once the waters recede, examine fence lines and pastures for debris and damage. Check hay fields for debris that can harm animals or machinery. Also check for carcasses (livestock or wildlife) and dispose of quickly

  • If flood waters have affected any farm buildings, clean them out and spray with disinfectant before allowing animals to occupy again

  • Be careful about reintroducing animals to flooded pastures too quickly so as to maintain forage stands. Overly wet soils will be susceptible to compaction damage, plus the already stressed plants can be further stressed.

Understand that the stress of the storms will negatively impact your animals. Storms can interrupt feed intake, possibly inducing tetany or pregnancy toxemia in pregnant cows. Stress can also lower immunity and make your animals more susceptible to disease. Finally, stressed cattle don’t grow or perform up to their full potential.

Cattle dealing with the stress associated with severe storms and flooded pastures will benefit from CRYSTALYX® Battalion®. Because hay and feed may be in short supply, cattle are likely to experience moderate to severe nutritional stress. CRYSTALYX® Battalion® is fortified with electrolytes and high levels of vitamins and minerals to help overcome this stress. Research has shown that the minerals and vitamins provided by CRYSTALYX® Battalion® play key roles in immune function as well as production parameters such as growth and reproduction. CRYSTALYX® Battalion® contains a yeast derivative called Actigen® to help cattle maintain gastrointestinal health and integrity during this difficult period. Protein provided by CRYSTALYX® Battalion® helps microbes better utilize lower quality forages and the licking action needed to eat  CRYSTALYX® Battalion® helps produce more saliva, helping to buffer the rumen against possible acidosis.

An added benefit is that use of CRYSTALYX® Battalion® can be used to move and hold cattle in desired areas. The proven ability of CRYSTALYX® to impact grazing distribution has even been patented (U.S. Patent # 6,244,217). Just place CRYSTALYX® barrels where you wish cattle to remain. Once cattle are trained to the barrels you can move them just by moving barrels to a new location

In summary, be prepared for possible flooding by identifying high ground where livestock can be moved before a storm event. After the flood, follow the clean-up procedures outlined. Help your cattle overcome the nutritional stress caused by the flood with CRYSTALYX® Battalion®. You can also use CRYSTALYX® Battalion® to help move and hold cattle where you want them. Visit us on the web at www.crystalyx.com to find out more about CRYSTALYX® Battalion® and how CRYSTALYX® positively influences grazing distribution.