Farmers should be alert for the early onset of pneumonia in calves and weanlings, with weather conditions being extremely calm at present.
The lack of wind means that the natural airflow in many livestock sheds is severely hindered, thereby increasing the probability of a respiratory disease breakdown.
Checking cattle more often is recommended. Pay attention to animals that are standing more, isolated and breathing heavier than usual.
If cattle are eating concentrates, splitting feeds over two offerings is better than one single meal allocation, as it helps to watch animals for sickness.
Cattle that are slow to come forward and eat are probably in the early stages of developing pneumonia. Early treatment increases the chances of a full recovery.
Clipping cattle along the back, neck and head is highly recommended. Removing excess hair will keep animals cooler and less prone to sweating.
Leave shed doors open and do not park machinery used to feed cattle in the passageway, as this will hinder airflow.
Removing a few side sheets of tin or widening the spacing between sheets can help to improve airflow. If necessary, replace sections where tin has been removed with space boarding.
For some farmers, allowing weanlings to stand in handling pens adjacent to cattle sheds on a dry, calm day will temporarily reduce the stocking density in sheds and ultimately improve calf health.