Agriculture

Deluge of rain not great for dairies; milk cows don't like being wet

The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help to find suspects believed to have shot and killed several cows Dec. 17, 2018 on the side of a road east of Exeter, CA.
The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help to find suspects believed to have shot and killed several cows Dec. 17, 2018 on the side of a road east of Exeter, CA. ezamora@fresnobee.com

A major storm is bearing down on California and dairy industry experts are urging operators to keep cows out of harm’s way.

Heavy rains and localized flooding could contribute to a potential increase in disease, a decline in milk production and storm water runoff.

Michael Payne, a veterinarian and director of the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program, said that while those impacts may be the worst-case scenarios, it pays to be prepared:

▪ Know if your dairy is in flood plain.

▪ Monitor the forecast and trusted websites for weather information.

▪ Have a farm disaster plan, including where livestock can be evacuated during a catastrophic situation.

▪ A county Office of Emergency Management or local livestock organizations may be used to coordinate the relocation of livestock.

“We are getting a very large storm coming through,” Payne said. “And it would be prudent for producers to take a look at their risks and make appropriate plans.”

The National Weather Service in Hanford is forecasting a 90 percent chance of heavy rain by midweek. An inch-and-a-half is possible in the Valley, with higher amounts in the foothills and mountains.

For more information about flooding and managing mud check out these resources, Managing Mud on Dairies and Flooding and Livestock Owners.

Robert Rodriguez: 559-441-6327, @FresnoBeeBob

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