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Farm Safety Tips for When Flood Waters Begin to Recede

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March 19, 2008

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Extension Specialist Provides …

Farm Safety Tips for When Flood Waters Begin to Recede

When flood waters begin to recede, it is important to use caution when assessing
damage and beginning clean-up procedures on the farm. 

According to Amanda Marney, agriculture preparedness specialist, University of
Missouri Extension, livestock will be exposed to unique hazards created by flood

In addition, agriculture producers must also protect their own health when
working in and cleaning up previously flooded areas.  


"It is very important that you make sure all animals have a source of clean,
uncontaminated water. Animals on pasture may need a different source of water
until ponds or creeks clear up," said Marney.

It is imperative that agriculture producers have their water tested if any part
of the farmyard is flooded. If using well water for livestock water, it may have
also been contaminated.

Marney also recommends checking all sources of feeds and forages for spoiling
and contamination. Flood waters can contaminate feeds, forages and fields. 

"Watch for molds in the field and in stored feed and forages. Feeding of moldy
feeds is risky and unhealthy for all animals," said Marney.

Standing water may damage parts of pastures. This may isolate animals and limit
the forage supply. Hungry animals may then eat contaminated or poisonous plants. 

Livestock producers should be prepared to supplement feed, when needed, in order
to prevent animals from eating contaminated plant materials. 

Marney says it is a good idea to make sure all animals are up to date with

Producers may need to administer Blackleg boosters to pastured animals.
High-risk, younger animals that were on flooded pastures may benefit from a
therapeutic dose of penicillin.

"Animals have been stressed during thunderstorms and resulting flooding.
Consider supplementing additional feed or vitamins. Watch closely for signs of
illness such as pneumonia and lameness. Make sure all animals are accounted for
and are eating," said Marney.

Is there manure storage on the farm? If so, consider having Natural Resources
Conservation Service (NRCS) check for any evidence of weakening or leaking.




Agriculture producers should be extremely wary of electrical equipment that has
been exposed to flood water or other moisture. 

"Don’t turn the power back on until it has been inspected by a qualified
electrician," said Marney.

If producers are not certain that the power is off, they should never enter
flooded areas or touch electrical equipment if the ground is wet. Never handle a
downed power line. 

Flood cleanup may involve the use of gasoline or diesel powered pumps,
generators, and pressure washers. It is important to realize these devices do
release carbon monoxide, a deadly, colorless, odorless gas. Due to this fact,
producers should operate all these devices outdoors. 

"Never operate the power unit indoors. It is virtually impossible to ensure
adequate ventilation," said Marney.

Farm tractor and equipment operators should be extremely cautious when using
towing chains to free or move "stuck" equipment. Hitch only to the drawbar to
avoid tipping the tractor over backward. Use only a long towing chain designed
to support the towed load. 

Check the machine’s operator’s manual for additional safe towing information.

For more help or answers to your farm related questions, contact the nearest MU
Extension Center or ag preparedness specialist Amanda Marney, at (417) 669-4362

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