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Landholders warned of the dangers of scaling back supplementary feeding

Western Local Land Services District Veterinarians are warning landholders not to immediately cease feeding their stock in light of recent rainfall in parts of the Western region.

After an extended period of little to no rain, many landholders have been supplementary feeding their stock to ensure they are receiving sufficient energy and protein to maintain body condition, something that is particularly important for breeding ewes.

After a tough winter with little to no rain, towns such as Bourke, Wanaaring and Buronga all received decent rainfall during October.

While the rainfall was gratefully received, Western Local Land Services District Veterinarian, Dr Hannah Williams believes landholders should be cautious before making the decision to stop feeding any stock.

“It was great for parts of the region to receive the rainfall it did and hopefully there is much more to come,” Dr Williams said.

“There have been instances in the past when as soon as landholders receive some rain they immediately stop feeding their stock which comes with some major risks.

“For sheep that are no longer supplementary fed and chase the green pick, if the green pick diminishes and the sheep return to eating grain, the ruminal bacteria may not have had time to adjust to these changes so there is an increased chance of grain poisoning.

“Similarly, sheep will spend much more energy chasing the green pick after rain and as a result can rapidly lose body condition and ultimately die if already in poor condition from the dry conditions.”

In light of the recent rainfall, landholders should also be on the lookout for new weeds and plants coming through in the coming weeks.

The toxins in these plants and weeds can have a negative impact on stock so producers are advised to try and identify plants they aren’t familiar with to ensure they are not toxic to livestock.

Landholders requiring further information are encouraged to contact their nearest Western Local Land Services office or visit the Meat and Livestock Australia website.

Media contact:
Charlie Whiteley, Western Local Land Services, 0428 679 974.