Central Tablelands Local Land Services suggests landholders move livestock to sheltered areas and feed out additional fodder if possible to cope with the cold and windy conditions forecast until Sunday.
“Lambing ewes, freshly shorn sheep or low condition stock are most susceptible in these conditions – any type of shelter you can provide for them will be beneficial,” said Senior Land Services Officer (Livestock) Brett Littler.
“Any paddocks with tree lanes or even tussock grasses will help, as they can provide shelter for some of the smaller stock.”
Producers should also consider the aspect of the paddock, Mr Littler said.
“When a cold snap comes through it’s all about breaking the wind, that’s what really knocks livestock around. Generally these weather systems are southerly systems so if you have available paddocks with a north or north-east aspect these will be best as they tend to protect livestock more.”
Fodder wise, hay is the best option if available, he said.
“Livestock take longer to digest hay so it raises their body temperature for longer, which is crucial in these cold temperatures,” Mr Littler said.
“Cotton seed is another good option as it will stay on the ground even in high moisture and the stock will still pick it up. Grain can be used if it’s all they have on hand but be mindful of grain poisoning from increased feeding rates.”
Mr Littler said producers could find information about supplementary feeding during drought, along with support available in the Central Tablelands region, in the Drought Handbook published by Central Tablelands Local Land Services. It can be found online at bit.ly/droughthandbook or landholders can pick up a hard copy at their closest office.
The DPI Drought Feed Calculator App also offers detailed advice on feed rations for both sheep and cattle, and can be downloaded free online at bit.ly/droughtfeedapp
For more information about winter livestock management contact your Local Land Services Veterinarian, or call Local Land Services Officer Brett Littler on 0427 007 398.