It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and a bit of pre-Christmas planning could make for a stress free festive season for farmers.
“With less than two weeks to go until Christmas, it’s not just trimming the tree and ordering the ham that farmers need to take into account,” Local Land Services’ Sue Street said.
Meatworks and saleyards will shortly be closing for their annual Christmas shut down period.
Without the option of selling stock during the closure, sheep and cattle producers need to check they have sufficient feed on hand for livestock, whether that’s grass in the paddock, grain in the silo or hay in the shed.
“Think about your live stock numbers, and how much feed you have available to maintain animals in a healthy condition until markets reopen in the New Year,” Ms Street said.
“Now might be a good time to bring stock into the yards, condition score them and draft off any animals suitable for sale either via the saleyards or direct to a processor before the abattoirs close for the holidays.”
Stock agents are also likely to be taking a break over Christmas.
“Contact them as soon as possible if you want advice on meeting market specifications and negotiating the best price to get animals off farm before the end of the year,” Ms Street said.
“Water supplies are also an important issue to consider as the summer weather warms up.
“Make sure bores and troughs are working well and if dams are likely to dry up, start planning now on moving stock to paddocks where there is a safer water source.
“It’s important to remember that livestock will increase water consumption significantly in warm weather.
“Making sure stock also have access to shade and shelter from the heat is also essential to meet basic animal welfare standards.
“It’s been a stressful year for most landholders due to the dry conditions we’ve experienced in 2018.
“Farmers who start planning ahead now, will be in the best position to enjoy some much deserved rest and family time over Christmas.
“If you’ve taken care of your land and livestock, you can enjoy Christmas without any extra worries.”