Using Weather Forecasts for Newborn Calf Health

Calving season has begun, in a winter season that has had some extreme temperature swings. Producers should take extra care during drastic temperature changes when caring for newborn livestock.
Calving season has begun, in a winter season that has had some extreme temperature swings. Producers should take extra care during drastic temperature changes when caring for newborn livestock.
(Photo: Drovers)

Calving season has begun, in a winter season that has had some extreme temperature swings. January 2018 had air temperatures as low as -30° F and as high as +50° F. In February and March, drastic temperature changes can continue to be a concern when caring for newborn livestock.

Useful Tools

The Cold Advisory for Newborn Livestock (CANL) forecast at the Aberdeen National Weather Service website can be a useful tool when preparing for new newborn calves, in particular in the first 24 hours. It was created with input from Northern U.S. ranchers, experts in animal science, and those who study biological responses to extreme weather conditions. The CANL forecast takes into account five factors: wind chill; rain or wet snow; high humidity; combinations of wind chill and precipitation; and sunshine vs. cloudy days. As a result, it is a science-based method to combine several weather factors together to determine the hazardous weather risk to your newborn calves.

Risk Scale
A six-category scale (Figure 1) was developed to identify the risk of hazardous conditions for newborn livestock, ranging from None (green color) to Extreme (red color). The categories are described as:

  • NONE: Wind chill above 41° F
  • SLIGHT: Wind chill less than 41° F for 2 or more hours
  • MILD: Wind chill less than 32° F for 2 or more hours
  • MODERATE: Wind chill less than 0° F for 2 or more hours or Wind Chill less than 32 ° F and .02" precipitation
  • SEVERE: Wind Chill of -9° F or colder for two or more hours, or wind chill of less than 32° F and .05" of precipitation
  • EXTREME: Wind chill of -18° F or colder for two or more hours, or wind chill less than 32° F and .1" of precipitation

six-category risk scale
Figure 1. Six-category scale to identify the risk of hazardous conditions for newborn livestock.
 

Forecast Map
These risk categories are displayed on a map of Northeastern South Dakota, and they are updated at least once-per-day. An example of the CANL forecast map looks like the map below (Figure 2). This map for February 13, 2018, shows Mild risk in green, Moderate in yellow over most of the Region, and an area of Severe risk in orange in the North Central counties. A visit to the CANLwebsite will also display the 30-hour forecasts for wind chill, total precipitation and sky cover (cloudy vs. clear). The CANL and related maps are only available for Regions in Montana, North Dakota and Northeastern South Dakota.


Figure 2. Example of the CANL forecast map hazard areas in SD.

 

Latest News

Guide Rock Fire
Nebraska Wildfire Forced Evacuations, Donations Sought

A wildfire forced evacuations in southwest Nebraska last week as the entire state is now in a drought. The Nebraska Cattlemen have identified ways to help those impacted by the fire.

42 min ago
.
Hulett: Packers Get Picky

The over-supply of cattle combined with a lack of interest from packers pushed the cash cattle market lower last week.

5 min ago
.
Driftless Region Beef Conference Set For Jan 26 - 28

Frank Mitloehner, professor and air quality specialist at UC-Davis is the keynote speaker at the virtual 2021 Driftless Region Beef Conference set for Jan. 26 to 28.

20 min ago
New Mexico Official, Who Founded 'Cowboys for Trump,' Arrested in Connection with U.S. Capitol Riot

Cuoy Griffin, a New Mexico county commissioner and founder of a group called "Cowboys for Trump," was arrested in Washington on charges related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

2 hours ago
From the unpredictability with trade to easing of regulations, the past four years have been a whirlwind with farmers, ranchers and policy experts looking back at Trump Administration's impact on agriculture the past four years.
Trump Administration Leaves a Lasting Impact on Agriculture

From the unpredictability with trade to easing of regulations, the past four years have been a whirlwind with farmers, ranchers and policy experts looking back at the Trump Administration's impact on agriculture.

7 hours ago
Stocker cattle
Peel: High Grain Price Impact on Cattle Industry

The beef industry reacts to high feed prices differently than other species as the ruminant biology of cattle means less grain will be used by changing how cattle are produced more than by changing production levels.

13 min ago