Fairing Through Stormy Weather

by firsthandfoods on July 17, 2015

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With all the summer storms we’ve been experiencing in North Carolina, our livestock friends are less apt than us to enjoy the light shows and thunder. In fact, storms pose a great threat to pasture-based livestock farms, especially with regards to the health and safety of the animals.

During a storm, homes, pastures, livestock facilities, and the animals themselves can be harmed, but even more damage tends to occur in the storm’s aftermath. Storms create various hazards causing animals like cattle, hogs, sheep, and goats, to become fatally ill. In a recent issue of The Carolina Cattle Connection, Dr. Matthew Poore of NCSU highlights some unsuspecting culprits of harm for livestock post-storm in his article Picking Up After the Storm on Pasture-Based Livestock Farms.

When buildings are damaged, fly away debris can get blown into pastures. If animals are lacking feed or mineral supplements, this leaves them quite hungry and the pieces of debris become chocking hazards. Nearby cherry and oak trees also pose significant threats to livestock, especially when storm winds blow down leaves and acorns. Consumption of wilted cherry leaves leads to prussic acid poisoning, a common cause of death in cattle, sheep, and goats, and if large quantities of fallen acorns are consumed animals can also suffer from acorn poisoning.

Unlike most of us, when storms hit farmers have to pay careful attention to both the practical and unique hazards that can cause both short term and long term harm to their operations and livestock animals. Given the amount of storms we’ve had this summer, we’re thankful to our many wonderful farmers for the care and attention they put into maintaining their pasture-based farms.

To read the full article by Dr. Matthew Poore, visit http://www.cefs.ncsu.edu/whatwedo/researchunits/amazing-grazing-picking-up-after-a-storm.pdf.

By Eva Moss
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