Summer shelter reminder for southern producers

Beef Central, 08/01/2024

Southern livestock owners are being reminded to ensure livestock have access to adequate shelter in the event of severe weather over summer.

Agriculture Victoria Principal Veterinary Officer, Dr Dianne Phillips, said recent localised severe weather has seen a higher number of deaths in vulnerable livestock in some areas of the State.

“Severe weather can include high winds, concentrated rainfall and/or hail and sudden temperature changes, which can impact livestock even in the warmer months of summer.”

Dr Phillips said vulnerable groups of livestock are those which are more prone to the effects of exposure and can include:

• recently shorn sheep

• livestock with newborns or recently weaned animals

• livestock with parasitism or other underlying diseases associated with weight loss, anaemia, or low protein levels.

“Farmers are encouraged to also ensure livestock are up to date with routine stock health management requirements, such as drenching and vaccination programs, and to conduct regular inspections, monitoring for and treatment of diseases.

“This will help your animals stay healthy and be able to better adapt to changing conditions,” she said.

“Cold weather increases an animal’s energy requirement to keep warm. As a result, when storms are forecast, additional supplementary feed before the event should be considered.

“Adequate shelter can include paddock shelter belts (often retained vegetation and tree plantings), sheds or other buildings where stock can shelter on the side out of the wind, and undercover yards like those at a shearing shed.

“Isolated paddock trees can provide some shelter for livestock but can also act as a conductor for lightning strikes in a thunderstorm, which, in some circumstances, can lead to sudden death of livestock sheltering underneath the tree”, said Dr Phillips.

Source: Agriculture Victoria. For assistance with livestock losses associated with severe weather events, please contact your private vet, our Customer Call Centre on 136 186, or your local animal health team. For emergency assistance, phone the Emergency Animal Disease (EAD) hotline on 1800 675 888.  


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