There's a new cold weather advisory for cow-calf producers. It's called the Cold Advisory for Newborn Livestock forecast. It's experimental and is available at www.crh.noaa.gov/abr/canl/forecasts.php.
"The CANL forecast …was created with input from northern U.S. ranchers and experts in animal science and those who study biological responses to extreme weather conditions," says Kalyn Waters, South Dakota State University Extension cow/calf field specialist.
It takes five factors into account: wind chill, rain or wet snow, high humidity, combinations of wind chill and precipitation, and sunshine vs. cloudy days.
It is a quick and easy way to combine several weather factors together to determine the hazardous weather risk to your newborn calves, she says.
It's important to be ready to warm calves up when they become chilled, Water continues.
USDA estimates 95,000 calves die each year due to cold stress and hypothermia
"Calving can be stressful time for many cow/calf producers, however being prepared, and learning more about how to identify and respond to cold stress and hypothermia will allow for it to be better managed, reducing its impact on the calving season. In a year when input costs are at record highs, saving every calf possible is at the top of producers' check list," Waters says.
Waters says understanding the risks of hypothermia in newborn calves and working to identify its severity quickly allows for proper treatment and will increase calf survival.
"When calves are 24 hours old or less and air temperatures drop below 56.2 degrees, additional energy is needed to maintain their body temperature and health," Waters said.
Several factors impact a newborns calf's ability to combat hypothermia and cold stress including; maternal diet prior to calving, calving difficulty, hair coat, bedding, colostrum intake, speed of detection, wind speed, and shelter.