Producers in parts of Saskatchewan are dealing with the effects of back to back drought conditions impacting feed quality and supplies.
It’s not uncommon to see a number of health-related issues in livestock as a result of the dry conditions.
Dr. Ted Dupmeier says cattle producers should be watching animals closely for any signs or symptoms related to poor nutrition, adding that about 75% of the problems he sees can be associated with nutrition.
“We tend to see things like Vitamin A deficiencies related to a drought type thing, polio is related to the drought and shortage of water. Ricketts is related to them (cattle) growing faster than the food is available and then this starvation thing that will happen to marginal animals. We see it and that’s why I wanted producers to be thinking about that. Then if they think about it, they’ll solve the problem.”
He notes one of the most common and probably one of the most severe issues relates to Vitamin A deficiency.
“We see it because our plants are supposed to have enough vitamin A, but in dry periods they don’t, and so these animals can’t store enough and so what you see is that their immune system gets down. It’s like people getting colds because their immune system is down, it’s the same thing in the animals, and it’s almost like magic if you get enough vitamin A into them as they can recover quickly.”
He says with the dry conditions this year and lower quality feed in some areas producers will want to take a closer look at their rations to make sure the animals have the nutrients they need.
Livestock producers are being encouraged to test feed and water supplies so they know exactly what they have to work with this winter keeping in mind they may have to bump up mineral supplements as a result.