CowCalf Corner: Keeping Good Records Can Ease the Pain of a Disaster

Spring time is thunderstorm season across the Plains.  Spring storms occasionally bring severe winds or even tornadoes.  Windy spring days also can cause wildfires to move rapidly across range lands.  Cleaning up after a severe storm or wildfire is difficult enough.  Losing valuable cattle brings additional financial hardship to the situation.

Cattle loss can occur in several scenarios.  Livestock may be killed, lost, or stolen during a stormy situation. An accurate accounting of livestock and property is essential to a cattle operation’s storm preparedness.  Keep a CURRENT inventory of all animals and the pastures where they are located.  Individual animal ID tags on all animals have several other purposes, but can become extremely valuable if cattle become scattered or even stolen.  During the spring calving season, update these records frequently to reflect the newborn calves that are arriving.

If these records are computer based, consider having a “back-up” copy stored at a neighbor’s or a relative’s house.  Hand written records can be photocopied and placed in two different locations.  We do not like to think about the “unthinkable” situation of a direct hit on our home or livestock buildings, but tornados and wildfires occasionally do destroy these dwellings.  After the disaster is over, that second set of records could prove to be very inexpensive and very helpful.

Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist

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