Preparing Midwest and Plains Cattle for Extreme Cold


Bitterly cold temperatures are settling in to the Midwest and Plains states. Oklahoma State University veterinarian Rosslyn Biggs says cattle producers need to be prepared to protect their cattle.

“I think that particular comment is critical, we’ve got to stay ahead of it, we’ve got to be prepared in advanced. We’ve got to have the hay and feed ready, and we’ve got to be able to, sometimes forgotten unfortunately, that leads us into a lot of problems, don’t forget that water source, too.” She says it’s all about protecting your investment in your cattle.

“Obviously, we’ve got a lot of investment in our cattle. Farmers and ranchers know that the less stress on an animal leads to the most productivity. These temperatures, particularly on the young and the old, or the thin, if we want to put it in that category, too, can be even more severe than it is in those in good condition,” according to Biggs.

Biggs also says it’s important to consider wind chills, especially if calving. “We can’t forget that wind factor on these animals and how much colder it gets with that wind, and in particular, those calves as they hit the ground. They need to be up and dry in short order and folks need to be prepared for that. As we look to the next seven to ten days, if they’re expecting calves, they need to have a place to get them out of the weather.”

She adds it’s important that the cow’s engine or rumen needs to be kept healthy and running at full capacity to generate body heat.