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Winter Feeding Areas for Livestock

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RADIO TRANSCRIPT
Agent:  Damon Pollard
Date:  November 5, 2021

This is Damon Pollard, Livestock Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service-Burke Center. Today’s topic is Winter Feeding Areas for Livestock.

As we move into colder weather, it is time to think about strategies for winter-feeding of livestock. Choosing a poor location for winter-feeding can negatively impact both soil and water quality. A significant amount of run-off can occur if winter-feeding is conducted around streams, ponds, flood plains or creek bottoms. Storm-water runoff from these areas can carry mud and manure into nearby water bodies, creating water quality problems.

Always, feed in well-drained locations. These should be areas that don’t allow runoff of mud and manure. The farther from surface or ground water resources, the better, as it is less likely for water pollution to occur.

Next, producers should consider using confinement feeding allowing livestock to access a structure or paddock for feeding but then return to a larger pasture. These smaller “sacrifice” pastures reduce the area damaged from winter-feeding. Place water and mineral supplements away from feeders, so livestock will be enticed to eat and then move out and away to water and minerals. This will help lessen the volume of manure at the feeding areas and spread it throughout the fields.

Finally, heavy-use area pads around winter-feeding areas are a worthwhile investment and can greatly reduce mud and rutting from tractor and hoof traffic. These pads are constructed using geo-textile fabric, crushed stone and dense grade aggregate.

By making these considerations for winter-feeding of livestock, producers can greatly reduce the potential to contaminate water resources and can improve production.

This is Damon Pollard, Livestock Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service-Burke Center. If you would like more information, call us at 764-9480.