WITH our region still feeling the effects of the ongoing drought and emergency fire season well and truly here, Hunter Local Land Services is urging livestock owners to consider their preparedness heading into the Christmas period.
The Hunter and Manning Great Lakes region also has a high number of absentee property owners, who are being encouraged to think ahead about emergency management.
Livestock need to be incorporated into your planning – consider all animals on your property when undertaking a Bushfire Survival Plan.
Hunter Local Land Services also boasts Farm Flood Readiness kits available.
District vet Jim Kerr has some simple reminders for producers going on holidays, or absentee owners.
“If you are going away for holidays, even for a short period, please make sure that you have nominated somebody local, preferably a neighbour, to act on your behalf ensure the welfare of your animals in the event of fire, flood or even something like a failed water pump,” he said.
“Water supply in particular is critical, with livestock needing double the amount of water or more when temperatures are in their high 30s to 40s.
“In dams that still retain water, quality has also been severely impacted by the ongoing hot and dry conditions and there are significant animal health issues that arise from poor quality water, including problems caused by blue green algae.”
The district vet team want producers to also consider how much feed they have on hand, with availability issues persisting for some popular fodder stocks.
Producers are being reminded to use the DPI Drought Feeding Calculator to help budget feed requirements and expenses.
“In addition to making sure there is adequate feed, please remember feed merchants, suppliers and production companies will likely take a break as well, so it is important to plan ahead to have enough feed to cover the break, whether you are going away or not,” Dr Kerr said.
“You may have feed on hand now, but if conditions deteriorate in coming weeks, will you be caught short?
“Please also consider the costs associated with feeding stock for the summer period and where the fodder will come from as it is getting increasingly difficult to obtain.”
If you find you don’t have enough feed, fodder or water on hand and you are struggling with the cost, or sourcing feed, your options include selling stock, or downsizing numbers to reduce feed requirements and financial pressure.
Remember it is critical to plan ahead and to make decisions when you still have options.
Hunter Local Land Services staff are available to provide advice and help you make decisions for your livestock.
Phone 1300 795 299 to speak to the team.
Hunter Local Land Services’ summer feed and fodder advice and newsletters are available via the website www.hunter.lls.nsw.gov.au
For drought support and information, visit DroughtHub at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/climate-and-emergencies/droughthub