Post-flood care key to stock recovery

17 June 2016

Flood waters may have receded but affected livestock aren’t out of the woods yet.

According to Bruce Jackson, Program Manager (Animal Biosecurity and Product Integrity) for Biosecurity Tasmania, animals that have suffered inundation and trauma will need close attention during the next few weeks.

Nutrition

“Providing adequate nutrition to livestock will be a priority for producers who have lost pastures,” he said.

“Some will have to informally lot feed and whether they use pellets, grain or other stock feed alternatives, producers should introduce a new ration slowly, building up to the recommended energy intake for the stock class.

“At least 20% of the total ration should be roughage to keep the rumen effective and to prevent acidosis, particularly in grain-fed stock.”

Bruce said, for the next few weeks, “some tender loving care will go a long way”.

Animal health

“Cattle that have been immersed in flood waters will benefit from a 7 in 1 booster as there may be increased risk of Leptospirosis and Clostridial diseases,” he said.

“Provide animals with shelter from the elements if you can and a dry place for them to sleep will help their recovery.”

Bruce urged producers to watch for signs of respiratory distress and pneumonia.

“If you see these problems, contact your veterinarian and nip them in the bud.”

Animals placed in lot-feeding situations should be drenched for internal parasites including fluke prior to entry as well as treated for external parasites such as lice.

“In the next few weeks it’s important to give these animals every chance you can to recover.”

Carcase recovery

Bruce said carcase removal, particularly in Tasmania, remained logistically challenging with many areas still too wet to use heavy machinery.

“If you can move carcases to an area where they are away from water and not at risk of predation, that’s a good start to minimising disease such as Botulism,” he said.

“However, human safety must come first, producers shouldn’t put themselves at risk.”

Bruce said producers still looking for lost livestock should check the “Found Livestock Tasmania” Facebook site which, along with NLIS tags, has been highly successful at reuniting livestock with owners.

The EPA Division has established a Carcase Recovery Incident Management Team (CRIMT) and is planning for an escalation of activity as property owners are able to get around their properties.

“Our objective is to recover carcases reported on public and private land and ensure they are disposed of properly,” Bruce said.

“Landholders who require assistance can contact the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment directly on the carcase recovery hotline 0418 583 373.

“An EPA Division officer will collate information to organise the removal of the carcases and their appropriate disposal.”

Bruce said photos of carcases can also be sent to the hotline or epaenquiries@environment.tas.gov.au with some explanatory text, noting that photos taken with SMART phones will carry date, time and location information embedded in them.

If landholders are able to manage the disposal of their own stock, there are several options available.

Where carcases are on farm they can be deep buried on that farm when conditions allow.

It may be necessary to collect carcases and stockpile them on dry ground while waiting for conditions to construct a burial pit.

Smaller numbers of carcases can be disposed of at some municipal refuse sites as putrescible waste.

Not all municipal refuse sites are able to do this so contact the relevant council and check before transporting carcases.

Useful links

Advice on confinement feeding

http://www.mla.com.au/Research-and-development/Feeding-finishing-and-nutrition/Drought-feeding/Confinement-feeding

http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/95915/full-drought-feeding-principles.pdf

Tasmania

NSW

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