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Preventing Livestock Feed Accidents


Seven tips to keeping livestock healthy through safe food supplies.

The health of your livestock is essential to your farm operation. One way to ensure the health of your animals is to monitor the food that they eat, making sure it is as safe for them as possible. Follow these tips from Southern States® to make sure your animals stay healthy.

Steps to success

  1. Labels. Make sure there is a label on all bags of feed. Then, follow the instructions on the labels. Labels are necessary even if you have bulk food or feed supplements delivered.
  2. Visual inspection. Look at the feed before giving it to your livestock. Make sure it is a color, texture and odor consistent with previous orders. If something is different, check with your feed provider. Also, watch your animal’s reaction to the food. If they seem uneager to consume it, something might be wrong.
  3. Assign a delivery location. If you are feeding a variety of livestock, it is critical to keep track of what type of feed is stored at what location. Some ingredients for animals are toxic to others, so if the feeds are mixed up, the consequences could be dire. Labeling all the feed storage facilities is an easy solution to the problem. This also helps make your supplier’s delivery of the feed a clear and simple process.
  4. Housekeeping. Follow these simple steps to ensure the highest quality of your feed:
  • Proper rotation: The oldest feed should be used first so as to not degrade.
  • Cleaning consistently: Inspect and clean feed storage facilities and delivery systems frequently to prevent mold, mildew and mycotoxins. Don’t let old food accumulate in hard-to-reach areas.
  • Tightly sealed: Your feed must stay dry and protected from the weather to discourage mold and mildew.
  • Pest control: Keep vermin - such as mice, insects, birds, bats and other rodents - out of the feed.
  1. Supplements. If you use your own hay, feedstock or silage along with purchased feed, make sure your own feed stocks are also rotated and maintained.
  2. Liquid Feed Supplements. If liquid feed supplements are not properly agitated, they can separate into stratified layers, and could cause toxic dosages to animals in some instances. Certain products contain medications and should be agitated on a daily basis, whether or not you are currently using it. Always read and follow label directions.
  3. Water. Typically water is provided to livestock at the feeding locations. If this is the case, make sure there is plenty of fresh water and space for the animals. Keeping water stations clean is important to the health of your animals.

Some producers use a checklist or journal to keep track of feed deliveries and any issues encountered. Keeping up with and handling problems immediately can go a long way in consistently providing your animals with high-quality feed to maintain their health.

Special Member Savings

At Southern States®, we are proud to be one of the nation's largest farmer-owned cooperatives. Southern States has partnered with Nationwide® Agribusiness Insurance to offer Southern States Cooperative member-producers in North Carolina and Virginia special discounts on insurance. In addition to giving you exclusive insurance savings, we’re also joining forces to support the cooperative that means so much to you.

Nationwide® Agribusiness is the number 1 insurer of farms in the U.S. and a leading insurer of commercial agribusiness. Go to southernstatesnwag.com to find a local agent.


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