Underwater Weeds

Flooding probably won’t kill weeds on its own, but does pose a threat both in spreading seeds and forcing farmers to reapply herbicides. Taken May 8, 2017. File photo (U of A System Division of Agriculture photo)

When flood waters begin to recede, producers must continue to use caution when assessing damage and beginning clean-up procedures on the farm.

According to Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension, livestock will be exposed to unique hazards created by flood waters.

In addition, agriculture producers must also protect their own health when working in and cleaning up previously flooded areas.

"It is very important that you make sure all animals have a source of clean, uncontaminated water. Animals on pasture may need a different source of water until ponds or creeks clear up," Cole said.

He says it is also imperative that agriculture producers have their water tested if any part of the farmyard is flooded.

"If using well water for livestock water, be aware that it may also have been contaminated, and the well may need to be disinfected," Cole said.

Check all sources of feeds and forages for spoiling and contamination. Flood waters can contaminate feeds, forages, and fields. Watch for molds in the field and in stored feed and forages. Feeding of moldy feeds is risky and unhealthy for all animals.

Standing water may have damaged some pastures or parts of pastures. This may have isolated animals and limited forage supply.

"Hungry animals may then eat contaminated or poisonous plants. Therefore, be prepared to supplement feed, when needed, to prevent animals from eating contaminated plant materials," Cole said.

It is a good practice to make sure all animals are up to date with vaccinations. Agriculture producers may need to administer Blackleg boosters to pastured animals. High-risk, younger animals that were on flooded pastures may benefit from a therapeutic dose of penicillin.

"Animals have been stressed during thunderstorms and resulting flooding. Consider supplementing additional feed or vitamins. Watch closely for signs of illness such as pneumonia and lameness. Make sure all animals are accounted for and are eating," Cole said.

For more information, contact any of the MU Extension livestock field specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Lawrence County, 417-466-3102; Andy McCorkill in Dallas County at 417-345-7551; Elizabeth Picking in Howell County at 417-256-2391 or Patrick Davis in Cedar County at 417-276-3313.