A word from Dr. Stewart:
We are expecting extreme cold conditions over the next couple of days. Here are a few tips to help cattle through this stretch, especially for those that have started the calving season.
Windbreak: This may be the biggest factor to help cattle get through the extreme wind chill we will see on Friday. Cattle will often seek out relief from wind more so than food or water. This can be stands of trees, stacks of round bales, or man-made structures. Placing this close to location of feeding will help ensure they find the windbreak, as well as consume the proper amount of calories.
Bedding: Keeping cattle dry is second most important factor for cattle. After the large amount of rain many have received since Thanksgiving, most are dealing with mud. Move cattle to a dry pasture for the next several days.
Nutrition: Cattle need more calories to maintain their body heat in extreme cold; up to 30% more. Starting at least 1-2 days prior to the expected weather, plan on offering higher quality hay or feeding 4-6 pounds of supplement. If cattle are not already receiving corn, do not start feeding straight corn. I would recommend that the supplement be greater than 70% TDN and 15% CP. A few simple options:
• Whole cottonseed
• Dried distillers grains
• Corn gluten feed
• 50:50 of corn gluten feed and soybean hulls
• 33:33:33 of corn gluten feed, corn, and soybean hulls
• Commercial feed
Water: Most waterers will freeze in this weather. In parts of north Georgia, it will remain below freezing for more than 48 hours. Be sure to check water sources to be sure cattle have access.