Feeding stock after rain: advice from our LLS vet

Storms have been rolling in across the district and more are forecast.
Storms have been rolling in across the district and more are forecast.

Hopefully by the time you read this, it is raining.

While I'm not confident enough to tell you to buy stock, or throw open the gates of the feedlot pens, there are some things that you should be aware of with the forecast showery weather.

Appetites of stock fluctuate with changes in weather, specifically barometric pressure.

This is often when I get to see the most grain poisoning cases as the animals rebound on and off feed. So put more hay out over the coming week to try to offset this risk. Extra hay is also a good idea if you think your paddocks or pens might get too wet to get in there and deliver feed.

If it rains a lot, and we get decent pasture growth, don't be too keen and let the stock out too early.

The early, short green pick will be 80%+ water, and the animals will lose weight chasing it. This also won't do your paddock any good. So plan to keep feeding, ideally until there is more feed bulk.

The height of a stubby of beer is a good height to aim for. Also, prioritise your paddocks to graze.

Preferentially graze paddocks containing lots of annual plants first, and save the perennial species. This will allow the perennials to grow a bit more and put some energy down into their root systems.

Don't forget that our animals are going to experience quite a dramatic diet change once they are finally let out onto green feed after all this time on cereal grains.

I expect we will see a lot of cases of pulpy kidney as a result of this, if stock are not vaccinated prior to grazing.

It is a good idea to administer a pulpy kidney at least one week prior to grazing. I would recommend this for all stock you are currently feeding, plus any stock that you buy in, unless you definitely know their vaccination history.

Fingers crossed you are not all sitting back reading this as another dust storm rolls in, and that the rain actually happens this time!

Storms have been rolling in across the district and more are forecast.

Storms have been rolling in across the district and more are forecast.