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Local producers are assisting AgriLife Extension teams and county livestock deputies with the roundup and movement of livestock to shelter facilities in South Texas due to flooding.
The Brazoria County Fairgrounds is being utilized as the Livestock Supply Point, the hub for collection of hay, feed, water and other supplies for animals, ranging from cats and chickens to horses and cattle, according to John O’Connell, AgriLife Extension coastal and marine resources agent, Brazoria County. Donations such as square and round hay bales and water buckets are pouring in from the community and local producers to assist other producers who may be forced to wait to access forage for an extended time.
Livestock, including 111 head of cattle, 103 horses, eight goats, seven swine and 52 chickens were being held at the Brazoria Fairgrounds and in Navasota Livestock Auction holding pens. Additionally, the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team has been assessing and treating animals, such as dogs, cats and a pot-belly pig, along with collecting information to assist reclaim efforts.
Agents expect it could be at least a month before any sense of normalcy returns for producers and homeowners. He said some areas may remain underwater for weeks.
“We’ve got to wait until the water recedes and then it has to be safe for producers to access pastures and homeowners to get into homes that have been flooded,” he said. “Livestock will likely return to pastures sooner but it will be some time before a return to normalcy for people within the floodplain.”
AgriLife Extension livestock experts said producers should also be aware of the possibility there may be increased parasite activity in livestock as a result of the excessive moisture.
“Wet weather creates conditions favorable for parasites to infect animals on pasture,” said Dr. Rick Machen, AgriLife Extension livestock specialist in Uvalde.
Machen said the biggest challenge for cattle is the brown stomach worm. Affected animals lose weight and in severe cases may die of overwhelming clinical ostertagiasis, a disease characterized by severe diarrhea, edema and serious weight loss.
Ticks and flies can also become problematic because of high moisture levels, he said.
“Wet weather also creates prime conditions for tick infestations and ticks are the primary vector for anaplasmosis, which causes severe anemia and can kill livestock. And tick bites can cause swelling, redness and localized infections.”
The recent rains are also likely to create some parasite problems for sheep flocks, according to Dr. Reid Redden, AgriLife Extension state sheep and goat specialist at San Angelo.
“Internal parasites such as roundworms and coccidia can occur in sheep during wet periods,” Redden said.
The AgriLife Extension office in Brazoria County has extended its hours of operation and is now open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Sunday. Inquiries about reclaiming animals or donating supplies can be made through the office at 979-864-1558.
Gov. Greg Abbott approved a disaster declaration in Austin, Bandera, Bastrop, Brazoria, Brazos, Brown, Burleson, Caldwell, Callahan, Clay, Coleman, Colorado, Comanche, Eastland, Erath, Falls, Fayette, Fort Bend, Grimes, Hardin, Harris, Hidalgo, Hood, Houston, Jasper, Kleberg, Lee, Leon, Liberty, Lubbock, Madison, Montgomery, Palo Pinto, Parker, Polk, Robertson, San Jacinto, Somervell, Stephens, Travis, Trinity, Tyler, Walker, Wailer, Washington and Wharton counties. The declaration authorizes the use of all available resources of state government and of political subdivisions that are reasonably necessary to cope with the disaster.
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