Flood recovery advice

14 October 2016

Recovering livestock enterprises after prolonged flooding will pose  a challenge for many affected producers this year, but careful management can help minimise the impacts on productivity.

Pasture

The affect of flooding depends on the flow  and temperature of water, soil types, depth and length of flooding, the health and type of plant species growing  and the amount of silt or debris deposited.

These factors will determine if pastures successfully recover, or if resowing is needed due to plant deaths.

Victorian Department of Primary Industries recommends “for ryegrass and clover pastures the target is  greater than 70 % plant survival. If plant population gets under 50%  action should be taken."

For lucerne, a plant that does not tolerate wet conditions,  “take action’’ if viable plant numbers have fallen below 6/m² in irrigated pastures and 5/m² on dryland.

Tolerance to waterlogging of pasture plants suited to non-saline areas

Highly tolerant

Moderately tolerant

Susceptible

Grasses

Kikuyu, phalaris, fescue, couch

Perennial ryegrass, Wimmera ryegrass

Cocksfoot, veldt, Italian ryegrass

Legumes

Lotus spp., white clover, Persian clover, balansa clover, yanninnicum, subterranean clover

Subterranean clover, murex medic

Lucerne, medic

Sheep

Dr Stephen Love, veterinarian/parasitologist with NSW Department of Primary Industries said producers should carefully manage worm control in conditions ideal for several worm species to flourish, especially barber's pole worm - particularly a problem in northern areas but which could be important in southern regions this year. He said under current conditions it was especially important to do regular worm egg counts - as often as every four weeks - and when required  to use drenches known to be effective.  Producers can find out more about worm egg counts and effective treatments at the MLA supported WormBoss.com.au 

Dr Johann SchrÖder, MLA Project Manager Animal Health and Welfare recommended using tools, such as worm egg counts (WEC), or larval cultures develop  a targeted drenching and grazing control program.

Flystrike caused by wet wool and dermatophilus (dermo) infections are common after floods. Producers need to be vigilant about lameness in sheep, as virulent footrot (which is contagious, unlike simple dermatitis type footrot) spreads quickly.

Clostridial diseases such as blackleg and pulpy kidney, caused by spore producing bacteria that thrive in moist and warm conditions, can result in high mortality rates.

Cattle

While in the immediate aftermath of the floods, lameness and mastitis are the first challenges,  producers should  monitor animals for some time for bacteria and insect borne disease and illness.

Johann warned producers to look for:

  • Viral conditions transmitted by biting insects. In addition to the direct effects of Bovine Ephemeral Fever, causing lameness and recumbancy, it (Three Day Sickness) and Akabane, can cause still-births or birth defects in pregnant cows;
  • Bacterial diseases such as Pasteurellosis, Salmonellosis or botulism caused by ingesting contaminated feed or water, or mycotoxicoses from mouldy hay;
  • Clostridial diseases such as pulpy kidney and blackleg, caused by commonly found spore producing bacteria which flourish in moist and warm conditions; and
  • Parasite burdens.

Resources:

Advice on animal and pasture management post-flood

Advice on confinement feeding

Disaster assistance

Further information:

Dr Johann Schroder

E: jschroder@mla.com.au

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