Cowchip - September 4, 2020

Dates to Remember:


16 Application for Hurricane Laura assistance in hay, feed and fencing due

21 Ryegrass and Clover seed available for pick


21 Last Day to pick up seed

27 Acadiana Cattle Producers Field Day, Cecil McCrory Exhibit Building, 4:30 p.m. (tentative)

Hurricane Assistance:

The Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association and the Louisiana Farm Bureau are working to provide hay, feed and fencing to cattle ranchers in need of assistance due to Hurricane Laura. They have asked that I assess the needs here in the parish. We know that Henry, Boston, Bayou Tigre, Esther and Pecan Island were the hardest hit and would like to focus our efforts in these areas. If you have fences and or pastures that were impacted by floodwater please fill out the attached form and return by Wednesday, September 16th.

USDA Disaster Programs:

There are several programs that you may qualify for due to Hurricane Laura. You should contact the USDA office here in Abbeville to find out more. They include:

  • Emergency Conservation Program – Provides cost-share at 75% to remove storm debris, repair fences, and repair conservation practices.
  • Livestock indemnity program – Pays for cattle that died due to the storm or were injured and sold at a loss.
  • Emergency livestock assistance program – Pays for feed or hay when grazing was lost.
  • Emergency loans

Again, contact the Farm Service Agency for more details at 893-5781.

Storm Thoughts and More:

Thank God that storm did not hit us directly. I pray for those in Calcasieu and Cameron. Most of us were spared serious damage, but some were not. The most serious damage occurred from storm surge. Fences running east and west were most seriously impacted. Pastures which still remain flooded, at depths above our forage species, may not recover until the spring. Areas most severely impacted were Henry, Boston, Bayou Tigre, Intracoastal City, Esther, and Pecan Island. Most of the cattle were evacuated from these areas and remain displaced.

Most forage species that stay submerged for more than seven days will be useless for grazing for quite some time. After Rita we planted ryegrass in Henry, Forked Island, and Little Prairie; in all cases, we were able to get stands of ryegrass. Salt concentrations in the soil were over 3000 parts per million. Also, ryegrass was observed volunteering in barren pasture the winter after Rita. You should consider trying ryegrass this fall if your pastures are destroyed.

Drinkable water can be an issue. If wells are used and the motors went underwater, they should be replaced as soon as possible. On farms where canal water is a source of water for the cattle, check the salinity. Cattle can safely consume water with salinities of up to 3000 parts per million. From 3000-5000 parts per million diarrhea and reduced water intake will be observed. Anything above 5000 parts per million can cause abortion in pregnant females. Be careful about introducing fresh water to cattle coming out of the flood, overconsumption of freshwater can cause sudden death.

We have enjoyed a very good hay season this summer, with several windows to harvest hay. There should be decent hay supplies available to feed cattle in pastures destroyed by the flood. There was some hay that floated in the surge. If you can unroll it and feed it now, cows may consume it. Cattle will refuse it later.

Health issues from comingling cattle and the stress of movement are sure to arise, we are nearing the height of anaplasmosis season and bovine respiratory disease is certainly possible. Be observant of your cattle and consider mass dosing with antibiotics for anaplasmosis control. Hopefully, your virus complex vaccination program is effective.

Let me know if I can be of assistance.

Mosquito Outbreak:

A drier than normal summer followed by a flood is a recipe for the mosquito outbreak we are experiencing now. About five days after a flooding rain or tidal surge there will be a mosquito outbreak and dry conditions just prior will only increase the population. Huge numbers of mosquitos are present in Vermilion and surrounding parishes.

Mosquitos can cause significant blood loss in cattle and by lining the nostrils reduce oxygen intake. Low oxygen intake and less blood to carry the oxygen have resulted in deaths in cattle and other livestock. Researchers estimate that it would take 3.8 million mosquito bites to drain a cow of half its blood. Rare environmental conditions can lead to mosquito swarms large enough to kill a cow within a short period of time.

Significant death loss has been reported in Acadia and Vermilion cattle in the last couple of days. Without widespread spraying by local mosquito control programs, it is a difficult problem to address. Mosquitos can fly up to three miles so efforts on the farm can have limited effectiveness. Spraying pastures with a pyrethroid or malathion can help. Mustang Max at three ounces per acre or Malathion at 24 ounces per acre should reduce populations. Both are labeled for pasture and have no grazing restrictions.

Give me a call if you would like more information.

Meat Sales Up:

From Drovers

Without added unemployment benefits, 35% of American consumers are likely to buy less meat. That is according to IRI research conducted in early August and released on August 11. Yet, double-digit gains in both volume and dollar sales were seen for retail meat departments in the first week of August.

Consumer concern over the COVID-19 pandemic remains a factor in consumer buying habits, which was elevated by several weather events that rendered hundreds of thousands of households along the Eastern seaboard and Midwest without power. The delay of the extension of unemployment benefits and the uncertainty over a second round of stimulus payments has also added pressure to consumer budgets.

IRI primary shopper research found that if Americans were to receive a second stimulus check they would be more likely to spend it on meat than other food and beverages. In all, 21% of consumers said they would buy more meat, 20% more produce and 7% would purchase restaurant meals more often.

IRI also asked how the loss of a weekly unemployment benefit of $600 might affect shopping behavior and the top answer among current beneficiaries of the benefit was buy less meat at 35%, followed by buying fewer fresh fruits and vegetables at 29%, buy fewer premium products at 24%, switch more purchases to store brands vs. national brands at 19%, and buy fewer convenient meals to instead cook from scratch at 18%.

“The net result of all the positive and negative forces for the meat department was double-digit dollar gains, at +14.8% during the week ending August 9 versus the comparable week year ago,” says Anne Marie-Roerink, president of 210 Analytics. “While the 22nd week of double-digit dollar gains, this also marked the lowest year-over-year gain since the onset of the pandemic purchasing starting March 15. Sales gains were far below average in states affected by hurricane Isaias, due to continued power outages in Connecticut (+9.5%) and New York (+8.8%).”

During the pandemic, starting March 15 through August 9, meat dollar sales are up 33.1% and volume sales have increased 20.2% versus the same period last year,” Roerink says. This translates into an additional $8.3 billion in meat department sales during the pandemic, which includes an additional $3.8 billion for beef, $1.1 billion for chicken and $870 million for pork.

Unit sales continue to do well, with 11.9 million more transactions compared with the same week a year ago and 868 million more transactions since the pandemic began. This continues to indicate more frequent and deep meat shopping engagement than previously seen.

“Consumer concern over COVID-19 remains high but stable,” Roerink says. “Everyday spending on groceries, including meat, will increasingly depend on shoppers’ individual financial situation as economic pressure and uncertainty are mounting. Back-to-school season is in full swing, though it looks very different from prior years in most states. This will continue to impact year-over-year trend lines, particularly for meats affected by breakfast and lunch occasions with many more children at home while participating in virtual education. Between the continued social distancing mandates, highly elevated consumer concern about the virus, economic pressure and the impact of virtual schooling, meat sales are likely to remain highly elevated for the foreseeable future.”

Disaster Response Resources for Livestock Producers:

  1. Water Requirements and Safety for Cattle Following a Disaster.
  2. Articles on Disaster Preparedness and Response for Livestock (including water and feed requirements)
  3. General Disaster Recovery Information for Families and Homes
  4. Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation Hay Clearinghouse.
  5. Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry (LDAF) has established the Poultry Fuel Hotline.
  6. Burn Bans have been issued for multiple parishes (*double check with your local departments if your parish is not listed).
  7. LDAF Launches GoFundMe Animal Rescue Relief Fund.


Andrew Granger

County Agent

Vermilion Parish

It is the policy of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, or disability.


Name ________________________________________________________________

Address ________________________________________________ City_________________________

Phone:________________________________________ Driver’s License ________________________

Physical location of cattle or horse operations(s) if different from above.


# Cattle Saved __________ # Horses Saved ______________

# Cattle Lost ____________ # Horses Lost ________________

Describe fence conditions and miles of fence affected. ________________________________________


Describe Losses of Hay ________________________________________________________________


Describe Pasture Conditions ____________________________________________________________



What assistance in feed and hay have you received since the storm? ____________________________



What are your plans for wintering your cattle/horses? __________________________________________



______________________________________ Signature

9/9/2020 6:04:31 PM
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