But you say their just cattle right? Producers aren’t concerned about their well being, comfort, or health. Absolutely wrong! These individuals are the biggest advocates for their herds!
Planning for these freezing winter months starts long before winter, as producers start by focusing on their herd health.
Producers such as Gene Price with K&G Farms stresses one of their biggest concerns is making sure the herd health is good. Vaccinations are given by making sure all boosters are given to mature cows and new additions to the herds have all the first time immunization that are necessary. Gene states they make sure to follow all the BQA (Beef Quality Assurance) standards.
After vaccinations, it is time for deworming. Parasites are a big concern for herd health because they can easily pull down a herd. K&G Farms makes sure they deworm at least 2-3 times a year.
The next preventive measure that producers take is planning adequate amounts of hay, grain, and/or silage that their cattle will need. By planning early, producers are able to take hay samples to be tested to determine what is lacking in the nutritional values. By testing the hay samples producers know if they need to balance out the cattle’s feed with protein or energy, states Jeff Broadaway Large Animal Vet Associate with Southridge Animal Hospital.
Ten gallons per day
Once winter is upon the producer the hard work starts; early mornings mean checking water sources to see if they are frozen. Cattle need ten gallons of water per day to properly function and drive their appetite. If waterers are frozen they must be thawed or water must be hauled in to make sure dehydration doesn’t occur.
Nutrition is another factor that is essential for cattle. The amount that cattle require depends upon body condition, age, whether they are pregnant, and the weather. The increase need of nutrients during the winter months is sparked by the extra calories cows must burn in order to keep their bodies warm. According to the NC Cooperative Extension a herd of thirty five cows and one bull will consume at least eighty two tons of hay in approximately one hundred twenty days.
In addition to hay, cattle must have minerals, proteins, grains, and/or silage to meet their bodily requirements for optimum winter health.
At K&G Farms, winter also means the breeding season where all the A.I. (artificial insemination) work is completed. Nutrition is essential stated Gene Price, we are trying to breed back mama cows with calves already nursing. We try to add a commodity blend feed to their diet to keep the mama as healthy as possible. Mature mama cows received three pounds of commodity blend a day in addition to their diet.
Like K&G farms, most producers in Union County focus on spring and fall calving states Jeff Broadaway. But, if calving does occurs out the normal schedule there is yet another set of worries or concerns to contend with such as hypothermia, pneumonia, nutritional issues, weakening due to stress, and the list continues on for the produces. As you can see says Gene Price, farmers are stewards of the land, and these animals are where our living comes from.
So, just remember as you enjoy the fireplace with your hot chocolate or coffee, there is a beef producer hard at work being the best advocate out there for their cattle by keeping them healthy, free of stress, and comfortable even in these cold frigid days.
And always remember cattle are dependent on the producers for care but in turn producers are dependent upon cattle for their livelihood. It’s a beautiful relationship, don’t you think?
2011 Union County, NC