Late summer and early fall preparation
Although we are in the late summer and have been having some cooler days in between, hot temperatures are still present. Therefore, as producers, fly control, pneumonia and wildfires are a few things to still keep in mind. Being prepared for these can help reduce the impacts they have on an operation.
Late season fly control is important to reduce fly stress on cows and calves producers are getting ready to wean. Fly populations tend to reduce in the fall when colder temperatures are present.
However, fly numbers will be high from late summer to early fall when temperatures are still high. Therefore, it is important producers keep up fly control management until temperatures have decreased (a killing frost of below 25 degree Fahrenheit occurs) and flies have gone away.
A good fly control program is essential to reduce stress in cattle. Additionally, a good fly control program can reduce the spread of pinkeye in the herd.
Therefore, it is important to have a good fly control program. If producers don’t have a fly control program or it isn’t working efficiently, work with a local vet to establish a fly control program.
Although producers tend to vaccinate their calves for respiratory pathogens, outbreaks of calf pneumonia can still occur. Pneumonia is a respiratory disease whose outbreaks tend to be unpredictable.
Pneumonia on pre-weaned calves has shown to impact young calves (month of age or less) out of cows with poor nutrition prior to calving as it reduces quantity and quality of colostrum. Recent weaned calves may also be at risk of pneumonia due to added stress, changes of feed and changes of environment related to weaning.
Additionally, it affects calves in the late summer and early fall when calves are susceptible because their colostrum protection runs out. Other factors causing an outbreak may include exposing young calves to older calves shedding infectious agents, hot, dry and dusty conditions and wide temperature swings between day and night.
Signs of respiratory disease in pre-weaned calves do not always include breathing problems (i.e. cough or panting). However, sick calves can be sluggish and reluctant to keep up with the herd and may have drooping ears. If it is suspected of a calf having pneumonia, producers may want to check for a fever or consult with a veterinarian.
When treating for pneumonia, proper early diagnosis, selection of proper antibiotic and administrating the antibiotic properly (proper dosage, proper administration route and proper treatment schedule) is important. For further treatment and diagnosis information, consult with a veterinarian.
Wildfires affect Americans throughout the U.S. Wildfires can result in ranchers and farmers losing homes, barns, hay, equipment, crops, livestock, fences, forage, etc. Now that most or all of our pastures have dried up, it is important to be extra careful and take precautions to prevent wildfires.
Some of the most important practices that can help reduce the chances of wildfires include respecting fire bans and driving vehicles on roads and avoiding driving through tall dry grass. Additionally, fire can be prevented by removing dead trees growing near power lines, ensuring hay is at the proper moisture before baling, ensuring hay is stacked properly and check newly stacked hay periodically for abnormal heating and keep areas near buildings mowed and free of debris.
Even with these precautions, fire may still occur due to lightning or other causes. Therefore, it is important to have a wildfire plan in case one occurs.
When planning for a fire, it is important to have an evacuation plan, fire extinguishers in outside buildings, equipment and vehicles, storing combustible materials, fuels and pesticides in a secure location or fire-retardant enclosures and having emergency contact information for the fire department, police department, etc.
Additionally, if the operation has a water/fire truck, it is important to have it ready to go (proper maintenance, inspected, full of water, etc.). Additionally, having insurance covering fire damages to a home, outdoor buildings, hay, crops, equipment and livestock can be beneficial.
If a fire does occur, contact the authorities immediately and stay away from damaged buildings. After a fire, contact the insurance company and local Farm Service Agency on possible disaster programs that may help, check buildings and equipment for damage prior to entering or using them, keep livestock away from contaminated water and/or feed and inspect livestock for smoke or burn injuries.
If livestock are severely injured, contact the local veterinarian, as the animal may need to be humanely euthanized due to the extent of their injuries and follow state guidelines for proper disposal.
Additionally, before disposing chemical contaminated materials, check on state and local requirements for disposal procedures.
During late summer and early fall, temperatures may still be high which can threaten operations. Having a proper fly control until frost occurs is important to reduce stress on livestock and reduce the spread of pink eye.
During this time of the year, it is important to keep an eye out for pneumonia on calves so early diagnosis and proper treatment can occur. For help with developing a fly control program and proper pneumonia diagnosis and treatment, contact a local veterinarian.
Furthermore, it is important to take precautions to prevent wildfires and have a plan in hand to be prepared for one just in case one occurs.
Alex Orozco-Lopez is a University of Wyoming Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension educator. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.