Time is of the essence in salvaging wet feed and grain. Both will begin to heat and mold very quickly, leading to spoilage as well as the possibility of spontaneous combustion. As soon as possible, you should remove dry portions of grain and store them separately. Dry bales of hay should be removed and restacked in a dry location, since capillary action will draw water up into the stack.
Wet feeds should be presumed harmful to animals until tested. They may contain contaminants from floodwaters, as well as mold spores which sometimes produce dangerous toxins.USE DRYER IF POSSIBLE
If part of a grain bin has been flooded, remove dry grain from the top using a vacuvator or any other means. Use one of the following methods for handling wet grain:
Separate dry corn from wet and store it on high ground. If the ground is wet, first cover the area with plastic or building paper. Handle wet ear corn as follows:
Flooded hay should be disposed of or used on fields as a fertilizer. It is probably unsafe for animals and not worth the time and expense of drying. Because of hay's tendency to heat and mold quickly, it should be spread out to aerate as soon as possible and turned often. Hay bales that are 30 to 40 percent wet pose the greatest risk of fire. Check hay storage often for pungent odors, hot damp areas on the stack, emission of water vapors and other signs of heating.>
If it is not possible to dry grain artificially, try to find a local market for it. Usable flood-damaged grain must be sold at a salvage price, possibly to a large livestock feeder who can use it before it spoils. Grain should be kept in airtight storage to prevent spoilage.SEED GRAIN AND SILAGE OFTEN A LOSS
Wet seed grain probably will not be suitable for seed, as wetness causes the seed to germinate. Subsequent drying would stop germination and likely kill the seed or reduce its viability. Do not feed seed grain to livestock, since it may contain toxic additives.
Flooded silage likewise will be a loss. Its waterlogged state will hurt feed value, as will any contaminants from the water. Like hay, it might be spread on fields as a fertilizer.SAFETY WITH WATER-DAMAGED FEEDS
If you must replace conventional roughage feeds with grain because of flooding, consider fibrous grains such as oats, barley, ground ear corn or one of the high-fiber byproducts such as brewers grains, corn gluten feed or soy hulls.
Continue to feed hay or straw unless you have had experience with high grain feeding. You must maintain a minimum amount of forage in cattle diets. Check with your nutritionist or county agricultural agent for guidelines. Spread any major changes in a feeding program over a period of several days. Observe animals carefully during the transition.
Consult your veterinarian or county agricultural agent before using flood-damaged feeds.
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