Cold snap to have dramatic effect on livestock

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Underweight and/or animals in poor health will also be susceptible to cold stress.

Agriculture Victoria is advising livestock producers and land managers across East Gippsland and Alpine areas to prepare for potentially cold and wet conditions forecast for the approaching weekend.

Agriculture Victoria Land Management Officer John Commins said one of the major risks from this first cold snap could be the effect on livestock.

“Sheep just off-shears and new born lambs will be particularly vulnerable and will need appropriate shelter and increased supplementary feed.

“Underweight and/or animals in poor health will also be susceptible to cold stress. These animals will also require access to adequate feed and shelter. If rain makes access to paddocks difficult it may be challenging to manage ongoing supplementary feeding, so planning ahead is important.”

Dry seasonal conditions have also left areas of land more exposed than usual with reduced ground cover, which poses a risk of erosion.

Mr Commins said the heavy rain may also place some farm dams and waterways at risk.

Producers should consider installing temporary sediment trap fencing to protect soil and nutrient run-off into farm dams.

A quick and simple way to help keep your farm dam water clean is to build strategically placed sediment fences at the inflow points.

“If there is a heavy rainfall event on exposed soils, there is an increased risk of soil erosion, which could cause large movements of silt, gravel, nutrients and rocks,” Mr Commins said.

“Producers know their farms and will be able to identify where the likely ‘trouble spots’ are, in terms of existing erosion, steep slopes and unstable soils.”

Mr Commins said after doing a quick assessment, mark out where a sediment trap will go with spray paint or by laying posts on the ground.

“Drive star posts into the ground one to two metres apart. For steeper ground, posts should be closer together.

“Run wires through steel post holes at heights of 150mm and 400mm. Attach and lightly strain between end posts.

“Materials such as shade cloth or fabric can then be rolled out on the uphill side of the fence and fixed to the strained wire with tie wire or fencing staples.”

For more information on establishing a sedimentary trap please see our managing farm dams page or contact your local Agriculture Victoria office, or call the Customer Service Centre on 136 186.

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