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TheBeefSite Newsletter - 13 January 2016

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Wednesday 13th January 2016.
Alice Mitchell - TheBeefSite Editor

Alice Mitchell

MSD Animal Health

Weather Headaches Worldwide for Cattle Farmers

Unusual weather around the world is causing problems for cattle producers at the moment, with strong winter storms in North America, flooding in the UK and Ireland and drought in southern Africa all happening in the past month.

Some of the extreme weather is thought to be partially caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon.

New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) said that recent rain has been a welcome respite from ongoing dry weather conditions in much of the country, but farmers in drought-affected parts of New Zealand will continue to feel the impacts of El Niño for months.

"Farmers are doing a good job of working through their drought management plans. For many, destocking in November and early December means that remaining animals can be kept in good condition even under this pressure," said MPI's Director of Resource Policy David Wansbrough.

“Driving around the lower and eastern North Island you can see plenty of bales of hay in the paddocks, which shows farmers there have geared up well for a dry summer."

The MPI said that El Niño also left New Zealand vulnerable to increased storms, and it would continue to monitor the situation - click here to read more.

Producers in drought-hit Zimbabwe have also been destocking, as Tawanda Korombo reported.

“The total number of cattle slaughtered in the formal sector stood at 67,170, compared to 63,721 during the same period in 2014. The increase in the number of beasts slaughtered is attributed to the high levels of destocking in drought hit areas,” the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said in a third quarter report released Wednesday.

Zimbabwean cattle producers are also struggling with sourcing sufficient feed for their animals, the effects of Foot and Mouth Disease and the lack of a ready market for their products - read more.

In the UK, farmers were reminded by experts from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) that although cattle can withstand low temperatures, they are less well adapted to the recent continuous rainfall.

“Cattle rely on a steady intake of magnesium and heavy rainfall can interfere with the normal food intake of cows so that magnesium intake becomes critical.”

“Our advice is therefore for all producers with outwintered stock, particularly cows, to ensure they are adequately supplemented with a suitable magnesium supply daily.” - Read more.

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Company News

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