AMES, Iowa – While cold stress cannot be completely eliminated for cattle housed in typical outdoor facilities in the Midwest, a new publication from the Iowa Beef Center describes management practices to reduce the impact of cold stress on your herd.
The publication, Caring for Cow Herds during Cold Weather, is available as a free pdf download on the Iowa State University Extension Store.
Iowa State University extension beef veterinarian Grant Dewell is one of the authors. He said being prepared and knowing how to deal with extreme cold situations is vital.
“Extreme cold can be detrimental to the well-being of beef cattle herds,” he said. “This four-page fact sheet provides practical management guidelines for producers on how to care for their cattle in cold weather.”
The content is organized into six categories: shelter, nutrition, calving, bulls, emergency planning and transportation, and includes a list of resources at the end.
“Cold winters are a fact here in the Midwest so we’re wanting to get some practical guidelines for our cow-calf producers to think about,” said Dewell.
Most Bos taurus cattle are cold-adapted, according to Dewell, so they already do well in the winter. But it becomes more challenging for them when we get the bitter and subzero temperatures.
The publication covers the different ways producers can add windbreaks and shelter, and covers the importance of nutrition and water. According to Dewell, windbreaks are not as prevalent as they once were, and access to shelter can be limited.
While veteran beef producers usually know how to adjust for winter, it’s still a good idea to review your plan. The publication is also useful for new and beginning cattle farmers.
“These seem like basic tips but one thing we see in the beef industry is we’ve got a lot of new people coming in as well,” Dewell said. “Maybe young operators who grew up with cattle but maybe didn’t really understand everything.”
For more information, contact Grant Dewell at 515-294-2822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.