Flooding on Beef and Swine Farms: A Scoping Review of Effects in the Midwestern United States

Samantha Crist, Jameson Mori, Rebecca Lee Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Increasing uncertainty and variability in weather due to climate change puts enormous stress on the sustainability of agricultural communities in several parts of the continental United States. Rural agriculture-based communities, such as those in North Carolina, Nebraska, and Illinois are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of flooding. These extreme weather events affect many animal facilities, and flooding can cause long-term impacts on animal health and productivity. Objectives: This scoping review investigated the potential short- and long-term ramifications of flooding on beef cattle and swine farms with theoretical locations in the Midwestern U.S. The goal of this review is to create a concept map to identify research gaps related to efforts to support those animals and peoples ravaged by floods. This was accomplished by performing a scoping review using search terms “beef OR swine AND flood” to assess direct effects and then “beef OR swine AND direct effect” to evaluate secondary and tertiary effects. Results: Our findings were based on a total of 89 peer-reviewed publications, with 50 publications relating to beef cattle, 24 relating to swine, and 15 containing information applicable to both. On beef farms, the effects of flooding can be broad and long-lasting. The short-term risks of flooding are reasonably well-understood, including the comingling of unfamiliar cattle, nutritional restriction, and disease transmission. However, long-term impacts, including potential effects on reproduction, nutrition, and carcass quality, have been less studied. In particular, further research is needed on mold species that contaminate hay post-flood, the effect of moldy hay ingestion on cattle, and the effects of heavy metal consumption on cattle and consumers. Little research is available regarding the effects of flooding on swine farms, likely due to the highly intensive nature of swine operations. In general, swine farms suffer from acute infectious diseases and biosecurity risks after flooding events. Conclusions: The potential ramifications of flooding on livestock farms differ among farm operations. Beef farms should prepare for long-term impacts on nutrition and reproduction, while swine farms should prepare for short-term impacts on biosecurity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105158
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • beef cattle
  • flooding
  • swine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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