Flooding: frequently asked questions

Animal health 

Q. Should I be vaccinating for botulism if feeding suspicious silage?

Water-damaged feed or decaying plant material in stagnant water is a risk factor for botulism. Botulism is preventable by vaccination and vaccination is recommended for all herds that are fed via a mixer wagon.
There are several different vaccines available with varying lengths of protection.
Consult a veterinarian to determine which is the most appropriate vaccination.
Avoid feeding water damaged or poorly conserved feed, particularly silage, or feed with known contamination with animal carcasses.

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Q. How do I manage issues with sore feet

The use of zinc and biotin can be added into the diet to improve hoof health. Beneficial to run it in diet year round to see the full benefit. Prolonged periods of wet will see lots of lameness regardless, and having well draining and maintained laneways will help

Feed options 

Q. Will there be a Canola shortage and if so, what should I use in its place?

Canola supply should be ok, but it is best to talk to your supplier around this and see if you can take a position in the market if possible.
Alternatives such as soy can be used, but again, it is best to speak to your supplier around their options. 


Q. What can I supplement a herd grazing forage sorghum/SSS/millet with?

Any grains or byproducts that will complement the nutritional quality of those forages can be supplemented. Amounts will vary depending on milk production, forage availability and crop's maturity stage.


Q. How viable is silage that has had water lying around stack?

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Q. Is it risky making silage from crops that have been flooded and there is a risk of town effluent or unknown contamination when it is to be fed to cows producing for human consumption?

1. Ensiling very wet forage (<25% dry matter) or soil contaminated forage is likely to result in a poor-quality silage.
2. The risk for production of harmful toxins during the fermentation process under these conditions is very high. These toxins affect production and pose an animal health risk.
3. Use of silage inoculants during harvest and mycotoxin binders at feed out are recommended under these conditions, but they are not a silver bullet.
If in doubt seek further advice from your local service provider or contact Murray Dairy for more information.

Summer Cropping 

Q. How do millet and forage sorghum/SSS compare for summer grazing?

Sorghum is more productive and faster growing. Millet has better quality but generally allows for less grazing events as it goes to head quicker when temperatures rise.

Q. What should I plant over summer for grazing if we have cooler than average summer temperatures?

Millet can provide better quality feed than forage sorghum. Millet has better quality but generally allows for less grazing events as it goes to head quicker when temperatures rise. If cooler than average summer temperatures occur, millet may remain productive for longer

Q. What should I plant over summer for quick feed?

Forage sorghum or millet will provide quick feed. Caution must be exercised when grassing sorghum due to potential risk of prussic acid contamination. Prussic acid is not normally present in plants, but it can accumulate in forage sorghum when young or moisture stressed and when shorter than 0.5m, or after rain when stunted plants and grazed plants begin to grow.
Prussic acid is a potent, rapidly acting poison. Feed samples can be sent away and tested for prussic acid levels.
Providing sulphur and salt blocks to animals grazing sorghum will compensate for low sulphur and salt content, will improve feed use and help reduce prussic acid poisoning. Management of forage sorghum will affect growth and feed quality more than variety selection.


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