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AGRICULTURE: Large Animal Owners Should Take Steps To Deal With Drought-Like Conditions

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FREDERIKSTED — The Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture issued an advisory today that “livestock and horse owners” should take steps now to deal with “dry weather.”

“Livestock and horse owners are encouraged to take steps now to reduce the effects of the advancing dry weather,” warned Agriculture Commissioner Carlos Robles. “With the hard lessons learned from the drought in 2015, farmers and horse owners need to take action to ensure that food and water are available for their animals during the dry weather.”

Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Bethany Bradford advised farmers to focus on providing protein for pasture animals.

“Extended dry weather presents serious health issues for animals that depend on forage and pasture” Bradford said. “Sheep, goats, cattle and horses are at risk for malnutrition, disease and death when pastures dry out. Additional measures are required by the owner to feed and water animals properly.”

The local veterinarian advised animal owners to pay special attention the feed they buy during current conditions.

“Quality feed such as alfalfa cubes, rabbit pellets, fresh tan tan and leguminous vines provide excellent protein for animals which results in better overall health. If you have to spend, spend wisely on protein and read the label. More importantly, reduce your herd to a manageable and affordable size for the amount of land that you have and feed you can provide.”

Commissioner Robles advises farmers to protect pastures and remove animals before the grass is killed by overgrazing. Taking good care of your pastures now will allow you to use them for longer periods of time and reduce your feed bill in the future.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Caribbean region since 1989. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

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