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Hugh Taylor, Coonamble

Managing animal health during drought

Landholder: Hugh TaylorCoonamble, NSW Central West Region
The challenge

After a grueling six months with very little rainfall, grazier Hugh Taylor had a scarce amount of healthy pasture left on which to place his livestock. Only two paddocks on his 3,500-hectare property had minimal stubble and loose chickpea. After being left with no choice but to move his sheep to these last two paddocks, Hugh discovered one morning that twelve of his sheep had died.

He wasn’t sure if the sheep had died from disease or whether his feeding methods had caused the sudden deaths. Hugh touched base with Local Land Services NSW for advice.

Work undertaken

Local Land Services immediately sent local district veterinarian Jillian Kelly to Hugh’s property to inspect the dead sheep and investigate the problem.

When Jillian arrived, she conducted an onsite autopsy on the deceased sheep to determine if disease was a contributing factor to the deaths.

Subsequently Jillian discovered that the sheep had died due to being overfed cereal grain by Hugh and his farm hands, causing acidosis and death.

Benefits

Hugh believes that Jillian provided him with an instant sense of relief when she revealed that he didn’t have a disease outbreak on his property, that could risk the health of the remaining flock.

Mr. Taylor also accredits the work conducted by Local Land Services as being a “massive help”, towards takings steps to minimise further losses and making decisions about future livestock nutrition and feeding practices.

Hugh regards Local Land Services’ expertise and advice as being imperative especially during these tough times.

Key achievements
  • A qualified veterinarian was dispatched immediately by Local Land Services to conduct an onsite autopsy on the deceased sheep.
  • Local Land Services staff were able to swiftly quell fears that live stock on the property were infected with a disease.
  • Local district veterinarian, Jillian Kelly, was able to give Hugh advice on how to better feed the sheep on his property during dry conditions.