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A contingency plan for wet weather is crucial for managing your cows. This plan should secure a drier, sheltered area with ample feed for your cows. When designing your plan, consider the welfare of your cows, environmental impact, and its practicability. You could plan for additional feed, shift the cows to drier pastures, or use stand-off pads among other strategies. Remember to factor in cold stress, as it can impact cows with low body condition scores and in wet, windy conditions. Discuss the plan with your team in advance to ensure smooth execution.
During prolonged periods of wet weather where the paddock becomes too wet and muddy, it is important to have a contingency plan.
The contingency plan should ensure cows are in a drier, sheltered area that is easily managed by the team, and includes enough feed or access to feed.
Consider the risk to the environment when choosing an area.
Create this plan with your team prior to winter to ensure that everyone knows when and how the contingency plan will be implemented.
It's important that you and your team know when to implement your contingency plan. Assessing the main three factors - paddock, animals and weather will help you make an informed decision.
“When I plan how much feed I need for winter, I add an extra 10 percent to cover extreme weather events.”
If a cow is clean and dry and there is little wind or rain, cold stress is rare until ambient temperatures fall below -10°C. The factors that increase the risk of cold stress are:
Depending on the BCS of the herd, and the weather situation, wet and windy conditions require an additional 0.5 – 3 kg DM/cow/day of intake.
|0-3 degrees C||4-7 degrees C||8-10 degrees C|
|Rain||1kg DM||0kg DM||0kg DM|
|Wind||2kg DM||1kg DM||0kg DM|
|Wind and rain||3kg DM||2kg DM||1kg DM|