PITTSBURG — Recent storms and flooding have had an impact on people throughout southeast Kansas, but for area farmers, the recent severe weather has raised concerns about their animals as well.

“Floods do have a big impact on livestock,” said Wendie Powell, livestock production agent for Wildcat Extension District. “When cattle are walking, it requires more energy to walk through mud, so their nutritional needs are increased, and often they’re overlooked.”

Standing water can also create problems with pests and insects, including mosquitoes and flies.

Goats have thick enough skin that mosquitoes don’t bother them, and mosquitoes aren’t as severe a problem with cattle as they are for horses, but if horses aren’t vaccinated, West Nile virus can be a problem, Powell said.

Floodwaters also pose a serious risk to livestock feed and hay.

“Whenever feed or hay gets wet, it will mold,” Powell said. There are also dangers that might be less obvious or even counterintuitive.

“If hay, silage, or grain was in contact with flood water that could have come in contact with chemicals from building or cities (any water from rivers or streams) federal regulations state that it should not be fed and should instead be disposed of,” according to information on the website of University of Nebraska — Lincoln.

“Hay bales that get wet can spontaneously catch fire, ones that are 30 to 40 percent moisture content pose the greatest risk of fire,” the University of Nebraska website said.