Livestock water advice for landholders

How much water is left in your dam or waterway? How much longer will the water supply for your livestock last? These are crucial questions farmers are being urged to assess as the dry conditions in the Braidwood, Monaro and Far South Coast region continue and the forecast is for a hot, dry summer season.

A priority for farmers during dry times should be to ensure that there are adequate amounts of good quality water available to stock to reduce the risk of decreased productivity and compromising livestock health. During dry times, stock water requirements increase dramatically. High temperatures and low moisture feed, such as dry standing pasture or hay further increase water intakes.

Richard Sanders, District Veterinarian with South East Local Land Services, said, “When water supplies dry out, cattle can become bogged attempting to access water, particularly if they are poor in condition.

“Landholders need to monitor dams and creeks for signs of bogging where cattle have been accessing water and if bogging is beginning to exceed 30cm deep, calves or even adult cows, are very likely to get bogged, especially those in low body condition.

“Removing a bogged adult beast can often require a tractor or heavy earthmoving machinery but leaving cattle bogged is unacceptable under animal welfare regulations, so prevention really is the only option,” Richard said.

Water quality is important to ensure animals can safely consume their daily requirements and this should be monitored closely during dry times. As water levels fall, the quality can decline, particularly from extremes of pH and salinity, and cause reductions in water intake.

“Provision of water, including during droughts, is a legal obligation under animal welfare legislation and if you cannot provide your livestock with water, then you will need to make the decision to either sell or send stock on agistment.”

There are a range of resources available on the Local Land Services website or you can call 1300 795 299 and ask to speak to one of the South East Local Land Services team for advice.

For more information, please contact Chris Finley: E:  M: 0477 193 761

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