Preempting a Dairy Disaster

US - Dairy farms have contingency plans for minor disasters. In most cases, though, dairy farms rely on local emergency management infrastructure to get through tough ordeals, including tornadoes, floods, fires and vehicle accidents involving livestock.
calendar icon 26 June 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

Chuck Schwartau, University of Minnesota Extension livestock educator, encourages dairy farmers to write plans, discuss steps to take when disasters occur and train for disasters. Schwartau lists several questions for dairy producers to ask themselves and their dairy teams at his blog posted on AgBuzz is a cooperative blogging effort of University of Minnesota Extension and Minnesota Farm Guide.

Schwartau asks producers to consider what they would do if the power goes off for several days due to storms, and how they would milk the cows and get water to the animals. What are some methods for ventilating the barns? How will the milk be cooled and stored? What are some methods for getting feed out of bins and storage and to the livestock if the power is off?

He encourages producers to check the emergency power generator to make sure it starts and determine how long the generator can run continuously. He suggests that dairy farmers have a back-up plan in case feed has to be rationed to last during an emergency. In the event of a tornado or fire, producers also need a plan to euthanize injured livestock and dispose of the mortalities.

Finally, if a livestock facility collapses or blows away, how and where can the livestock be confined? By writing up and practicing disaster planning, dairy farms could have important items in place to survive significant ordeals.

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