Lamb Production

Southern states turn focus to surviving dry conditions

Sheep Central, October 27, 2015

windmill weather 1OPPORTUNITIES to capitalise on high livestock prices and the best ways to cope with dry conditions will be highlighted at a pasture update at Lucindale in South Australia next week.

The Victorian Government is also monitoring conditions and providing targeted support to farmers as soil moisture levels and on-farm water storages decline and drought conditions are faced in north-western Victoria.

The November 6 pasture update organised by the Grassland Society of Southern Australia with Meat and Livestock Australia will provide tips on making the most of a difficult situation, including the best pasture and supplementary feed options and opportunities for selling livestock.

The event will feature information on clover root rot, how fodder beet contributes to livestock growth, and pasture utilisation and livestock performance.

MLA Challenge farmer mentor and composite sheep breeder John Keiller will look at pasture utilisation, livestock performance and opportunities for stock despite the dry outlook.

There will also be a visit to Annie and Andrew Bell’s Red Gum Herefords property at Avenue Range to look at new kikuyu and fescue/phalaris pastures.

Principal Consultant from Agripartner Consulting, Hamish Dickson, will outline opportunities for selling livestock given the dry season and present an analysis of the cost benefit and opportunities for trading stock.

Mr Dickson will also discuss grazing ripened cereal crops and other pastures and the best options for feeding animals given the dry conditions and fairly low feed availability in the paddock.

Adelaide University’s Michael Wilkes will outline how fodder beet being trialled in south east South Australia could contribute to livestock growth.

Dr Nick Edwards will provide an update on results from an MLA clover root rot producer demonstration site.

Dry conditions need not mean ‘gloom and doom’

President of the Grassland Society’s Limestone Coast branch, Meg Bell said the November 6 session would highlight opportunities to capitalise on high stock prices and the best ways to cope with the dry conditions.

“The outlook for the rest of the season is that it’s going to be very dry, but it’s not all doom and gloom,” Ms Bell said.

“We will look at different options for grazing, pasture types, filling feed gaps and how to use different feed sources to potentially make the most of higher stock prices,” she said.

Ms Bell said the pasture update would help farmers to deal with the dry conditions and potentially take advantage of them. It will run from 10am-3pm and costs $30 for GSSA and MLA members, and $50 for non-members. To RSVP contact: Grassland Society of Southern Australia on 1300 137 550 or email [email protected].

Victorian authorities warn livestock producers on welfare

Victoria’s Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) has been running an increased number of dry conditions workshops across the state and chief veterinary officer Dr Charles Milne is urging all animal owners to plan ahead now before the availability of on-farm water and fodder deteriorates.

“Tough conditions call for tough decisions, many farms should consider reducing livestock numbers now even if this was not their intention.

“Farmers have an obligation to protect the welfare of their animals and I know the vast majority will be doing the right thing,” Dr Milne said.

“Making these decisions is not easy especially when the outlook for your business is challenging.”

“I know the Minister for Agriculture is keeping a close watch on the drought and will be looking at targeted support within the sector, but key decisions continue to be required at the on-farm level,” Dr Milne said.

Dr Milne urged livestock producers to speak to their veterinarian or a DEDJTR animal health officer to help determine their situation. Farmers facing financial hardship can contact the Rural Financial Counselling Service, he said. More information is also available at www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/droughtor call 136 186.

Click here for details of coming DEDJTR workshops.

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