Florida is a great state for ranching, but cattle ranching isn’t without its challenges. High temperatures, frequent summer rain storms and hurricanes, and an abundance of mosquitoes and other insects work against ranchers across the state. However, with some proper preparation and education, we can work to fight against those challenges and provide the best circumstances possible for the animals under our care. We’ll be covering some issues today and how we can work to recognize signs of stress and illness early. For more ranching tips or information, visit the Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch blog page.
High temperatures are practically synonymous with Florida. They’re one of the hardest parts about ranching here. Cattle can start experiencing heat stress with temperatures as low as 75 degrees Fahrenheit, which we have consistently seen this “winter” season. When temperatures get higher, some signs of stress can be reduced eating and reduced weight gain. At this point, they’ll require additional water intake to keep up with the demands of the heat. When they enter heat stress, symptoms may include restlessness, elevated heart rate and breathing, and drooling.
Frequent rain can be troublesome due to the effect pooling water will have on your cattle’s hooves. Try to ensure your pastures have proper drainage (that isn’t leading to erosion or poor water runoff habits) and provide dry spots your cows can escape to. Check for rain rot in the hooves, which may show as inflammation and scabs or lesions. After hurricanes or storms, have an emergency kit prepared to check for broken fences and any injuries you’re able to start treating on your own.
These nasty buggers aren’t good for your cattle, and pests get infinitely worse during hot summer months. Infections and excessive biting can lead to blood and weight loss. Prevention is the best policy, and back-rubbers, pesticides, and oral medications can be used.
While ranching in Florida presents some difficulties, our neighbors in cold weather face their own challenges. We’ll continue providing a high level of care to our cattle and great products to our customers here at Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch. To purchase our beef, visit our website.