With the climate trend towards higher temperatures, extreme heat is likely to continue to be a risk this summer.
Providing cool, clean water, and shade and shelter is essential for animal welfare, and will ensure valuable livestock cope with extreme conditions.
A good quality water supply is essential for stock on warm days, however surface water in dams and storages can quickly drop to critically low levels in hot weather.
Where livestock are relying on pumped water into troughs, farmers are reminded to maintain and monitor water infrastructure diligently.
“It’s easy to get caught out if a pump breaks down so planning is critical,” senior land services officer, Local Land Services, Brett Littler said.
“Unless you are around to continually check water containers, water should be provided through automatic or reticulated systems.
“The number of watering points and the amount of water flow should be increased if a large number of animals are kept together, and troughs need to be firmly fixed so they can’t be tipped over.
“If you are feeding 500 weaner lambs, their daily water requirements are 2000 litres on a plus 30 degree day eating grain.
“If you don’t have a spare pump, you’ll need to have enough water in storage until the spare part arrives.”
Water consumption by sheep is about 40 per cent higher in summer than in winter.
During drought conditions stock need even more water to cope with tough, fibrous feed.
Water requirements can be further exacerbated by routine activities such as shearing which dramatically increase the heat load on animals.
Sheep adjust to the heat load by increasing evaporative cooling through panting, and water consumption can increase by 78% under extreme conditions.
In extreme heat it’s safest to postpone handling stock where possible or jobs should be done early in the morning.
Keeping an eye on weather forecasts, and having a plan ready to ensure sufficient shade and a plentiful supply of cool, clean water will help prevent death and deterioration in valuable stock.
- Visit: www.lls.nsw.gov.au.