The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Stock shelter


Agricultur­e Victoria has called on livestock owners to ensure they provide adequate shelter for livestock when severe weather is forecast in the remaining weeks of summer.

Agricultur­e Victoria principal veterinary officer Dr Dianne Phillips said localised severe weather has seen a higher number of deaths in vulnerable livestock in some areas of Victoria this season.

“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,” she said.

Dr Phillips said vulnerable groups of livestock were those that were more prone to the effects of exposure.

She said these included recently shorn sheep, livestock with newborns or recently weaned animals, and livestock with parasitism or other underlying diseases associated with weight loss, anaemia or low protein levels.

“Farmers are encouraged to also ensure livestock is 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,” Dr Phillips said.

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

“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.”

Dr Phillips said adequate shelter included paddock shelter belts such as retained vegetation and tree plantings, sheds or other buildings where stock could seek shelter out of the wind, and undercover yards such as 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,” she said.

More informatio­n is available at agricultur­ cattle-shelter-guidelines and via agricultur­ sheep-shelter-guidelines

People wanting assistance with livestock losses associated with severe weather can contact their private vet, a local animal health team, or Agricultur­e Victoria’s customer call centre on 136 186. For emergency assistance, phone the Emergency Animal Disease hotline on 1800 675 888.

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