This summer has been trying for many in Airdrie's agricultural community whether it be the extreme heat, sudden weather changes or lack of precipitation in the early spring.

When speaking of the risks of extreme weather in agriculture, the first thing that comes to mind is the health of the crops however the health of livestock are at just as much risk. 

Dr Tom Picherak from the Carstairs Veterinarian Clinic says there are risks to livestock in these temperatures but it's not necessarily the direct heat. 

"Due to the heat, you will have an increase in fly population that will fly around the livestock eyes and bother them. The other thing to worry about is the overall forage, after x amount of days it becomes dry and crispy and can affect the cattle's feet by giving them foot rot due to how prickly it is."

Apart from the fly and dry ground another potentially devastating risk to your livestock herd can be the quality and state of their water source. 

"Your livestock need access to fresh water and clean water. Sometimes these animals rely on dugouts and streams that can become acidic. The waterways can be tainted by other animals such as geese, the geese will use the waterways and defecate in stream creating bacteria for the livestock." 

Picheark also says testing these waterways are crucial to the overall health of your livestock during the period of heat like one we are currently experiencing. 

"Checking those water sources are crucial, it's worth getting those little water tests. You can go to your dugouts and figure out what the ph levels of your water are and the salinity of the water source. Take that sample into the human health lab and get it checked. If your livestock is being fed by dumping water into water troughs make sure they are all full on day one because the animals will go through it so fast. 

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