Extension and Ag Research News


Livestock Losses are Not Immediate

Snowstorms and flooding can cause long-term problems for livestock.

Even though most of the snow is gone and the floodwaters are starting to recede, producers’ livestock losses will continue.

“Not all the losses will be readily evident,” says North Dakota State University Extension Service veterinarian Charlie Stoltenow.

Carcasses covered by snow or swept away by floodwater will become visible. Producers should document these losses and report them to their county Extension agent to help assess the magnitude of the losses statewide. Reporting the losses also can help producers receive some compensation for those losses and establish the need for future assistance.

If producers find carcasses of unknown origin, they should look for brands or other identification to help identify the owner. Assistance on owner identification is available through the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association by contacting the chief brand inspector at (701) 223-2522, the east river field man at (701) 290-3993 or the west river field man at (701) 640-1899.

Documentation of livestock deaths will help livestock owners qualify for compensation under the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). The LIP is administered through U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.

Documentation of deaths may include verifiable or reliable records. If these are not available, a certification by an unrelated person who is not affiliated with the operation may be acceptable if the person has firsthand knowledge of the deaths.

Frostbite injuries to animals, especially newborn calves, will just start to be noticed. Producers are reporting the loss of hooves and limbs due to frostbite, Stoltenow says. He recommends that animals severely debilitated by frostbite injuries be euthanized humanely.

Severe scours outbreaks have been a problem this spring and increased cases of chronic pneumonia in calves on pasture may occur this summer. Long-term effects such as poor weight gain are possible as a result of the scours outbreaks and pneumonia. Producers should contact their local veterinarian to determine a plan for dealing with these conditions, Stoltenow says.

He also recommends producers have a veterinarian evaluate or re-evaluate bulls with breeding soundness exams. Bulls may have not been bedded deeply enough during the extended cold periods this winter to protect their external genitals. Additionally, bulls standing in belly deep mud, manure or water even for short periods of time may exhibit infertility during the breeding season. Even if bulls were evaluated earlier in the year, they should be evaluated again since infertility problems often do not become evident until 30 days after the initial injury.

“The livestock losses due to the cold, snow and flooding are bad enough,” Stoltenow says. “Let’s not make it any worse by ignoring livestock conditions that we can control.”

NDSU Agriculture Communication

Source:Charlie Stoltenow, (701) 231-7522, charles.stoltenow@ndsu.edu
Editor:Ellen Crawford, (701) 231-5391, ellen.crawford@ndsu.edu
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