Recent wet weather in some parts has seen straw in field stacks soaked by rainwater, bales immersed in water and even straw bales washed away by flood water. Moist and wet bedding straw adds moisture to the atmosphere and increases the risk of pneumonia hence the emphasis on keeping animals dry and well bedded to prevent pneumonia. Wet straw has very little absorbency and should be used as bedding as soon as possible to bed animals with the lowest priority for bedding. Bales that have been soaked will not dry out properly and will instead, heat and rot. Bacterial and fungal growth in these bales will have a significant detrimental impact on the quality of straw in the bale. These bales not only provide poor bedding and have the potential to cause pneumonia in stock, they also present a potential threat to the health of farmers by way of Farmer’s lung. Don’t delay, if you have wet straw use it first, if in doubt, leave it out.
Sarah Balfour, firstname.lastname@example.org
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