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Tips to manage post-storm mud in feedlots

Tips to manage post-storm mud in feedlots

By Andi Anderson

Northwest Iowa's cattle producers are currently facing challenging conditions due to recent severe weather. Beth Doran, a beef specialist from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, emphasizes the importance of having a proactive strategy to combat mud-related issues in feedlots. Effective mud management is crucial as it significantly affects cattle's weight gain and overall health.

Producers can employ several emergency strategies to combat the mud issues effectively. One approach is to place whole round bales of cornstalks, straw, or hay on less muddy areas. This practice allows cattle to tear up the bales and create their own bedding, integrating the material into the mud for a more solid footing.

For areas without dirty surfaces, scraping concrete surfaces and bunk aprons regularly keeps these areas dry and clean, providing cattle with a suitable place to rest. On wider aprons exceeding 20 feet, it's beneficial to place bedding beyond this distance from the bunk and continue adding to the bedding to create a substantial bed pack until conditions improve.

The recent hail has also posed direct physical risks to the cattle, with potential bruising affecting their marketability. Beth Doran notes, "Because hail can cause physical injury to cattle, be aware that marketing may need to be delayed if cattle were hailed upon."

Data from a Texas feedyard show that cattle sold within 15 days of being subjected to hail ranging from 1¾ to 3¾ inches in diameter exhibited significant carcass bruising. The bruising levels returned to normal baseline levels by day 49 post-storm.

For more detailed advice on post-storm management strategies, producers are encouraged to contact Beth Doran at 712-737-4230. These strategies are crucial for minimizing the adverse effects of mud and maintaining high productivity and health among cattle in feedlots.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-pamwalker68

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Categories: Iowa, Livestock, Beef Cattle, Dairy Cattle

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