Dry summer is taking its toll | My Machinery
CASE Agriculture
Dry summer is taking its toll

The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is encouraging farmers to make early decisions regarding the condition and welfare of their livestock over this extended dry period. DPI Sheep Health Veterinary Officer Natarsha Williams said DPI has responded to increased animal welfare reports over recent weeks relating to both cattle and sheep in paddocks with limited feed and/or water. “With this extended dry weather, paddock feed reserves and water availability have become an issue, which is likely to worsen over the next few months.” “Producers need to start assessing livestock now and making decisions about disposing of stock they do not intend to keep or feed,” she said. Ms Williams said now is the time to consider selling older livestock and those that are barren to reduce the cost of feeding. “The decision to supplementary feed should be made early before the condition of the livestock deteriorates too dramatically. As the condition of livestock becomes poorer, it is increasingly more difficult and expensive to return them to a reasonable body condition with supplementary feeding alone,” she said. “If intending to keep stock, producers need to ensure they have enough suitable feed reserves through until late autumn or early winter at least. Consideration should be made to the needs of different stock types including pregnant and lactating animals,” she said. Ms Williams said the nutritional value of supplementary feed should also be considered as the digestibility and protein content of feed types varies considerably. “If drafting to sell stock, producers need to assess their livestock carefully to ensure they are fit for transport before they are loaded. Animals in poor condition are unsaleable. These animals should be euthanaised without delay and not sent to a saleyard.”

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