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DOA COMMISSIONER: Farmers Need To Plan Now For Approaching Dry Season

FREDERIKSTED — The commissioner of agriculture said that large animal owners need to prepare now for the dry season approaching.

“Livestock and horse owners should prepare for and implement steps now to reduce the effects of the advancing dry weather on their livestock and horses,” Agriculture Commissioner nominee Terrence “Positive” Nelson said. “Farmers and horse owners need to take action to ensure that food and water are available for their animals during the dry weather.”

It is the time of year in the territory when farmers can no longer count on consistent rainfall.

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

Bradford advises farmers to focus on providing protein for pasture animals.

“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. Spend money wisely on much needed protein and read the label. Reduce your herd to a manageable and affordable size for the amount of land that you have and feed you can provide.”

Commissioner nominee Nelson 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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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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