North Coast producers need to plan for drought-impacted summer

The recent Kempsey Cattle Sale saw record numbers with 2300 head sold. If producers are looking to reduce stock numbers ahead of a long dry summer, closing dates of saleyards and processing facilities need to be considered.
The recent Kempsey Cattle Sale saw record numbers with 2300 head sold. If producers are looking to reduce stock numbers ahead of a long dry summer, closing dates of saleyards and processing facilities need to be considered.

With the drought hitting hard and just a few weeks to go until local saleyards and processors wind down for the end of year break, North Coast Local Land Services is urging producers in our region to consider how they are going to feed and manage water supplies for their livestock over summer.

The entire region is drought-impacted, with close to 83% of the region now classified as being in intense drought. North Coast Local Land Services General Manager Louise Orr said with drought and in some areas bushfires now impacting producers, it's more important than ever to be planning ahead.

"While many producers have made the difficult choice to destock, we know there are still lots of landholders trying to hang onto their stock, despite issues with feed and water availability. We are urging producers to make realistic feed and water budgets and honestly consider their options" said Louise.

Nathan Jennings Senior Land Services Officer (Agricultural Advice) said as temperatures increase water requirements of stock also increase. Supplementary feed remains expensive and difficult to source due to the widespread drought.

"It is crucial that producers take time to consider the workload as well as the emotional and financial costs of ongoing feeding and what other options there might be." said Nathan.

In some cases, the best option is to look to further, reduce stock numbers. With Christmas fast approaching closing dates of saleyards and processing facilities need to be considered. Details of the last sales and reopening dates are listed below.

  • Lismore Last Sale Tuesday 10 December, reopens Tuesday 7 January
  • Grafton Last Sale Thursday 12 December, reopens Tuesday 7 January
  • Kempsey Last Sale Saturday 14 December, reopens Saturday 4 January
  • Casino Last Sale Wednesday 18 December reopens Wednesday 8 January

"Due to current seasonal conditions many processors are already booked up into the New Year and there may be a wait to get cattle in, but please contact your processor to discuss your individual circumstances." said Nathan

"If you are purchasing stock feed make sure you speak with your local feed supplier now to source quality feed," said Nathan.

North Coast Local Land Services is offering free feed testing. Testing helps producers be confident purchased fodder will meet the nutritional requirements of their stock.

Drought support has changed in NSW. Landholders are encouraged to visit the DPI Droughthub (www.droughthub.nsw.gov.au) for information on the services and support available during drought conditions.

Eligible farmers and small business on the North Coast that were hit by the recent NSW bushfires can now access recovery grants of up to $15,000. To apply for a bushfire recovery grant, primary producers and small businesses should contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit https://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/

If you need advice to help you make decisions about whether to feed or sell your livestock please contact one of our Agricultural Advice staff at North Coast LLS for assistance on 1300 795 299

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