Local Land Services are calling on all stock owners to record exact numbers of animals on their properties so staff can respond accordingly when floods or bushfires return.
In the March flood numbers of cattle lost on the east coast varied wildly from just over 500 as recorded by the DPI response headquarters at Orange, to more than 10,000 according to local livestock agents in the worst affected localities.
Meanwhile, cleanskin livestock continue to emerge from bushland months after the disaster, with no way of telling where they originated. In one recent case a Santa Gertrudis bull from New Italy near Casino was re-united with its property after the owner agreed to carry out a DNA test to prove the animal's lineage.
During the Richmond Valley floods, manager of the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange at Casino, Brad Willis, said the numbers of cleanskins were surprising.
"There is no law to say that cattle remaining on their property of origin need a tag," he said at the time. "But never-the-less this flood event has exposed a big issue with transactions taking place outside of the saleyards without being updated on the NLIS system, particularly on-line sales."
Cases of cattle duffing in the digital marketplace were significant enough to warrant investigation by the rural crime squad
As a result, LLS is encouraging livestock managers to lodge exact numbers of animals on their property.
The census is required from this week, Thursday June 30.
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"We ask landholders like you to let us know how many livestock are on your property, so we can build a stronger picture of land use and livestock numbers across NSW," said an LLS statement.
"We rely on this data when emergencies strike, and with disease threats such as Foot and Mouth and Lumpy Skin Disease on our border, your information has never been more important."
"Even if you don't own any livestock it's important you still complete your return, ticking 'no' to question one on the form. We understand not everyone uses their land for farming livestock, but when an emergency like flood or fire hits, we use this information to determine our response, including mapping where animals are that may need our help."
All livestock over six months of age must be counted, regardless of whether they are yours, are being agisted or even pets. Pigs of any age must be counted, as well as flocks of 100 or more poultry.
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