Managing stock in a dry season
14 December 2016
The North Coast Local Land Services District Veterinarian team have offered advice to livestock producers to help them deal with the unusually dry season being experienced on the North Coast. With very dry conditions upon us, and an uncertainty as to whether an end is in sight, it is imperative that livestock owners begin to implement risk mitigation protocols.
A lack of early planning, or inadequate planning and preparation for extended dry times is often the biggest contributor to landholder stress, production loss and livestock death due to starvation. The implementation of some basic principles including the management of pastures, reduction in stock numbers dependant on the pasture available, early weaning of calves and supplementary feeding where possible, remains the same whether you are a hobby farmer or running an extensive property.
Stock reduction is one of the easiest methods to reduce the pressure on pastures. When left unmanaged, high stocking levels can cause significant damage to the health and future growth of pastures for many seasons to come. Reducing stocking rates will ensure greater feed availability to the remaining stock, as well as making supplementary feeding more affordable.
Dr Cassie Maria, District Veterinarian said, “At this time on the North Coast, we are lucky enough to be experiencing greater than average cattle prices.
“It is therefore the perfect time to take advantage of prices and reduce on farm stocking rates but it is important to note that this does not require the sale of whole herds.
“It is rather a targeted approach to selling vulnerable breeding stock, including aged and cull cows which helps to generate cash flow to assist in the maintenance of the remaining stock as well as taking the pressure off the soil and pasture.”
Remember, remaining overstocked throughout dry periods will quickly deplete feed and water supplies and cause excessive pressure on pastures, soil, livestock, finances, and stress on managers and owners.
If you would like more information contact your private veterinarian or the North Coast Local Land Services District Veterinarian team.
Dr Cassie Maria, District Veterinarian Phone 0427 458 592
Supplementary feeding of livestock can help in a dry season