Wet weather hasn’t just played havoc for farmers trying to get into their fields, feedlot operators across the west are dealing with disastrous conditions in their pens. Those muddy wet, conditions impact cattle movement and gains in the yard. Producers are bedding cattle, moving cattle, or cleaning what they can in the pen to improve conditions and keep cattle from struggling to get from the bedding pile to the bunk, and to stay active.
If an animal has to expend a large amount of energy to get around or to adverse conditions, it’s not going to gain as quickly. The longer an animal is on feed, the less profitable that animal is for the feed yard operator. But fixing those pen conditions brings additional costs as well. Pumping water, cleaning pens, hauling in fill-dirt or bedding aren’t cheap and put added pressure on already tight margins.
Darryl Gibb is a Research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and a beef nutritionist with Viterra Feed Products in Lethbridge, Alberta. I spoke with him about some of the effects these wet, muddy pen conditions are having on cattle.
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