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Heavy ash and cattle health

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:37 am
by Schmitty
Hello, new to the forum, first post. Like I said, I'm new here and still figuring out how to navigate through all the posts. So this may have been discussed already, not sure. My question is about all the heavy ash on the west coast here, specifically here in the Oregon Willamette valley. Does anyone have any thoughts on all the ash in the air that is so heavy you can see it landing and piling up what's it doing to the cattle health. I have a small herd of dexter and one Holstein steer that are exposed to the ash. One of my dexter is a 4 month old little heifer. I know just the few minutes I'm out there feeding and moving hay around I get congested. I can just put on a dust mask, what if anything can or should I do for the moo crew. They have loafing sheds they can go into, but that's about it.

Re: Heavy ash and cattle health

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:59 pm
by boondocks
:welcome: Welcome Schmitty! I have not had to deal with that issue but I'm sure we have some people here who have. I'll bump this and see if they can weigh in !

Re: Heavy ash and cattle health

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:10 am
by Dave
Well depending on your location in the valley you things have got worse the last couple days. Lock them in a barn if that is an option. Under a roof at least the heavy particulars won't get to them. Otherwise keep an eye on them for signs of pneumonia. I have never heard of smoke from a distant fire causing problems even when the smoke is what we would consider heavy. Not a whole lot any of us can do. I don't know of anywhere in the PNW that has clean air right now.

Re: Heavy ash and cattle health

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:28 am
by ALACOWMAN
Never dealt with that situation before,, closest thing would be burning old hay, or brush.. First place they head right into the smoke checking it out, dont seem to bother them....

Re: Heavy ash and cattle health

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:49 am
by Bright Raven
The larger particulates are not respirable. I do not know what size particulates exceed the respirable level for bovines. For reference, here is how respirable particulates is defined.

RESPIRABLE PARTICULATES. A collective group of fine solid particles, aerosols, mist, smoke, dust, fibers and fumes are called Respirable particulates.

Personally, I see no logic in putting them in a barn unless it was closed tight and supplied with filtered air. That is highly unlikely to be available.

Not a lot of options. They have to breath the air that is available.

Re: Heavy ash and cattle health

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:48 am
by Lucky_P
Short-term, I doubt that there's much to worry about. Not like when Mt. St. Helens blew and there were billions of tons of volcanic ash settling over millions of acres... THAT did cause some significant issues to animals, humans, and machines alike... but some smoke blowing in from distant forest fires... nah; it's a minor vexation.

I used to see carbon and silica deposits in macrophages(a type of white blood cell) in lungs of dogs that lived for years in 'smokers' homes, big cities, or in really dusty environments (envision that moonscape defined by the chain attached to the collar)... both just incidental findings and barely worth mentioning in descriptions of the tissues... certainly nothing that I would classify as indicating a health hazard.

Re: Heavy ash and cattle health

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:43 pm
by Katpau
It is more than a little smoke blowing in from distant fires. I really don't know what can be done. I would normally be weaning and working cattle now, but we are holding off with the hope that conditions will improve. We can't move 100's of cattle into barns and even if we could it would not help that much. My house even smells of smoke. In Roseburg we actually had 1/10 of an inch of rain last night which improved things slightly, although you can still see and smell the smoke. Visibility improved from less than 1/4 mile to probably 1/2 mile judging by my view from the top of the ridge towards the foothills. That was the first drop of rain since the first part of June, It came with lots of lightning which started more fires. Unfortunately for Schmitty that rain did not reach the Willamette Valley but it did push our smoke ahead of it into that Valley. So far I have not noticed any cattle with respiratory issues. About all we can do is pray for winter rains to come early this year.