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Take stock now

FARMERS URGED TO TAKE STOCK NOW
PLAN AHEAD FOR XMAS CLOSURES & SEARING SUMMER HEAT

With Christmas closures looming at abattoirs and saleyards, now is the time to take stock of animal feed and water requirements and plan ahead for a searing hot summer.

“Running out of feed or water could be disastrous if you need to offload livestock when the meatworks and saleyards are closed for their annual Christmas shut down,” said Central Tablelands Local Land Services Senior Officer, Brett Littler.

Farmers would be wise to calculate whether they have sufficient feed on hand to last through the summer, or at least up until the end of January when saleyards and abattoirs re-open.

Taking stock now will give you time to make carefully considered decisions about whether to sell or to buy in extra feed supplies.

“We’re already getting a lot of enquiries about early weaning and feeding dry cows, and we always advise getting a feed test to check feed quality,” said Mr Littler.

Feed testing gives producers the information they need to mix rations that will keep animals in a healthy condition, and feed testing can also detect potential problems with quality.

“Concerns have been raised recently about excessively high nitrates in hay. While high nitrate levels have been found in some hay in the Central Tablelands region, we have not seen this translate into animal health issues.

“Nitrate levels are usually manageable if the hay is part of a mixed ration,” said Mr Littler.

Mr Littler also warns that water quality may be just as big an issue as feed this summer.

“We are seeing bore levels drop across the region. As the water levels fall, mineral concentrations can change, which can affect decisions about feed supplements.”

“Deteriorating water quality can also have serious flow on effects for livestock, particularly if animals reduce their water intake as a result of salinity or water hardness during hot weather.”

If producers have no alternative water reserves, Mr Littler recommends testing the bore to determine water levels, and also to check water quality.

The key message for livestock producers, with regard to both water and feed supplies, is to take stock now and put plans in place to reduce the stress of a long hot summer.

For further advice on livestock feed and water supplies contact your nearest Central Tablelands Local Land Services vet or livestock officer in Bathurst, Cowra, Lithgow, Molong, Mudgee or Orange.

Media contact: Cassie Jones - 0408 504 825   Email: cassie.jones@lls.nsw.gov.au