This has been so far an exceptionally challenging year. From a drought earlier in the year to some of the wettest grazing conditions we have ever experienced in the last few months. With this in mind here are some of the challenges that wet grazing conditions lead to.
Poor quality intake.
Even when animals are grazing good covers of grass when it is wet a number of problems arise. They walk over and contaminate the sward. The soil conditions are so loose that when they grab a bunch of grass with their tongue some soil and roots can be pulled by the tongue. Obviously there is a huge burden of parasites such as fluke and lungworms. Indeed in my own herd we have been forced to dose for lungworm again recently. Its always best to dose for lungworm BEFORE housing.
Grass quality is also very negatively affected by wet conditions. Wet grass means that animals cant get the required amount of dry matter into their diet every day.
Feeding concentrates would be the obvious answer to getting additional dry matter into animals but that becomes a huge challenge when soil conditions are wet. The last thing we want is for large patches of our grazing pastures to be poached by animals waiting around a feed trough.
Another challenge is the inevitable foot problems that occur when animals are standing around in wet conditions every day. If you notice that after a 5 minute shower your toenails are very soft then imagine how cows and bullocks are faring when standing in wet conditions every day! Cows hooves are made from keratin like our toenails which will go soft if immersed in water. Consider adding gravel to passages to keep them dry, keep your collection yards clean, make sure they have a dry lie at night.
There is no easy answer to this very challenging situation and every farm will present its own additional challenges. All we can do is look after our animal health as best we can and make the best decisions possible.
The key takeaways from this article:
Dose for worms, fluke and lungworm etc.
Watch the condition of your cows feet.
Make sure they have a dry lie.
Supplement the missing dry matter in the diet.
Call us on 061 355186 for information on our feeds to help you pick the best solution for your farm.