February’s cold temperatures require the state’s livestock producers to make adjustments to their regular management procedures to keep their animals healthy. Cattle health, in particular, is of great concern as the state ranks 13th in the nation in beef cattle production with a statewide herd of approximately 864,000 beef cows. However, the extreme weather is also affecting horses, goats, poultry and other livestock.

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture has the following resources available for beef cattle producers looking for information on managing their cattle through the present cold snap:

Cattle Need Special Care During Cold Weather
2015 Beef Cattle Management Calendar

For those who have access to a Master Beef Producer manual, Chapter 5 provides a thorough description of managing cattle nutrition during cold stress. 

Other resources for livestock producers include the UT Extension website: extension.tennessee.edu. Just click on the top link to “publications” and enter the search term of choice to see links to UT Extension resources. You may also contact your local county UT Extension Office for additional information. 

Additional resources are also available online at the national extension website: extension.org.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has issued this new release regarding livestock and beef cattle health:

Extreme Weather Can Impact Livestock

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam issued three executive orders Wednesday, February 18, in response to the state's ongoing winter storm. His orders, which follow a state of emergency declaration, address the delivery of food supplies, heating fuel and agricultural items. Gov. Haslam ordered the suspension of federal hours that limit the hours that commercial vehicles may drive, specifically for those carrying food, heating fuel and chicken feed.

Governor Haslam also suspended size limitations on trucks carrying hay. This is actually an extension of an order issued last month as a result of dry conditions during last year’s growing season. But, the order is also applicable to the current weather situation.  

These Executive Orders can be found online as numbers 43, 44 and 45.