Cattle, Farming, Land Management, Livestock Feeding, Opinion

Caring for livestock in challenging conditions

Agriculture Victoria is encouraging the use of a stock containment area (SCA) due to extreme weather

Agriculture Victoria land management extension officer Clem Sturmfels says an SCA can help minimise loss and illness to livestock during floods, droughts and bushfires.

An SCA is a selected area of a farm that is set up to hold, feed and water livestock during adverse weather conditions.

Typical SCA pens measure 50m by 50m and can hold approximately 500 sheep or 170 cattle, according to Sturmfels, with plenty of room for livestock to move around.

In addition to keeping livestock safe and well-cared for, an SCA can make management on a farm easier and more efficient.

By containing animals in an SCA, farmers can maintain ground cover across the rest of their property, protecting soils, water and pastures.

“It’s vital stock have enough feed and supply of fresh water, plus shade during the hotter times of the day,” Sturmfels says.

When dealing with adverse weather conditions, Sturmfels says it is important that livestock enter an SCA in good health.

“They (livestock) should be drenched, vaccinated, and conditioned to a grain-based diet,” he says.

“Diseases and health issues can spread quickly in containment, so regular inspection and monitoring is essential.

“Common issues such as acidosis and shy feeders need to be identified early, with affected stock being moved to a pen of their own.”

For more information on stock containment areas visit Agriculture Victoria’s website.

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