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Cold snap forecast tomorrow!


Sheep and cattle with good shelter and extra feed will be better able to cope with the cold snap forecast to hit the Central Tablelands tomorrow.

Temperatures are forecast to plummet this Friday (11 May), with showers and windy weather, as well as snow possible above 800 metres, making for uncomfortable conditions out in the paddocks.

“A lot of stock have lost condition in recent months, and the cold change will be an unpleasant shock for livestock if they’re lean and lacking insulating body fat and muscle,” said Central Tablelands Local Land Services District Vet Lucienne Downs.

“Freshly shorn sheep and lambing ewes in particular should have access to sheltered paddocks, and ideally extra feed rations to cope with cold, wet weather.”

The combined effects of wind, low temperatures and rain can significantly increase the energy requirements of sheep. Freshly shorn sheep require at least double normal feed requirements if wind conditions approach 15 kilometres per hour (well below this Friday’s forecast wind speeds of 25-35 km/h) and temperatures are in the range of -1°C to 12°C.

‘Good-quality hay is the best source of extra feed during cold stress periods as there is no risk of grain poisoning from increased feeding rates, and digestion occurs over a longer timeframe, raising body temperature for longer.’ [1]

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, overnight temperatures are predicted to fall to between zero and six degrees on Friday, and it will stay cold all day with maximums only expected to reach between seven and 13 degrees across the region with snow possible in Orange, parts of Lithgow, Oberon and Blayney.

“We’re right at the start of winter, and there will be a lot of cold snaps to come over the next few months,” said Dr Downs.

“It’s worth thinking about a management plan to deal with the next round of cold, wet weather, and putting a strategy in place to give your livestock the best chance of maintaining body condition and survival through to spring.”

The DPI Drought Feed Calculator App is available to download for free online.

For more information about winter livestock management contact your Local Land Services Vet, or call Local Land Services Officer Brett Littler on 0427 007 398.