By Jack Norfleet, 2022-2023 MO Beef Leadership Academy Member
The summer is always the busiest time of the year. Families are embarking on vacations, county fairs are bustling, and everyone wants to soak up the sun before it is too late. Although we may be staying busy during the summer, it is critical we do not forget to properly care for our cattle during the warm months.
Many productive practices can be implemented to ensure each and every cow within the herd is properly cared for. One of the major issues facing the summer months is flies and other insect pests. A simple fix is to utilize fly spray for smaller herds. The fly spray acts just like the bug spray we use when we go camping to ward off ticks and mosquitoes. Back rubbers that can be hung over pasture entryways are a better method to remove flies in larger herds. Fly control mineral, which prevents the spread and breeding of flies through manure, is always a feasible option for herds of any size.
Aside from fly control, there are a few necessities cattle need to survive the summer heat. Shade, like trees or barn space, is highly important to keep cattle from overheating. Having a working water source is important to ensure clean drinking water is available to all cattle at all times. Overheating and lack of water can cause severe illness in cattle, just like we need to carry bottles of water and wear sunscreen when going on hikes to stay cool. Daily wellness checks are also necessary to see if any health issues, like pink eye, have developed and can be treated if caught in the early stages.
Packing the right items is essential to a memorable, summer vacation. For cattle, having access to the proper health and wellness tools will ensure their summer will be just as enjoyable as soaking up the memories we make during our busy, yet rewarding summers.