Nambucca Valley farmers facing hard choices

Slim green pickings in our paddocks

So how are things looking on the ground in our pastures?

Brendan O'Brien is the Senior Land Services Officer with North Coast Local Land Services, visiting farmers and farms from the Port Macquaire Hastings LGA up to the Nambucca LGA.

"It's dry everywhere and everyone is doing it tough. December to March is our main growing season for our pastures. The longer rain is delayed, the more our pastures ability to produce feed for livestock will be impacted." Mr O'Brien said.

"This is unprecedented and a lot of landowners are de-stocking and selling ... but we are also telling farmers to be prepared for when the rain does come.

"While the plans they made previously have gone out the window, you need to keep planning.

"Farmers need to think about whether they can afford to feed and if so, if feed is available. They need to think about what recovery will look like, so if they are de-stocking what animals do they keep.

"Younger animals or the latest generation in a breeding enterprise should have the best genetics within the herd plus smaller stock do require less to feed. And if you are feeding, you need to choose a flat, sacrificial area so that ground cover elsewhere can be maintained."

He said that while landholders might tempted to stop feeding if rain comes, they need to be mindful of cattle 'chasing' rather than 'grazing' green pick.

"An animal's condition can fall rapidly if they spend hours walking the paddocks trying to obtain enough quantity to meet their intake requirements."

He said everyone's situation was different and the LLS was there to give advice and support.

AND: Anyone whose livestock's water supply was affected by the recent bush fires and is consequently facing an animal welfare issues can phone 1800 814 647.

The weather forecast for the rest of this week is predicting at 80 per cent chance of showers at the end of the week with falls between 1-5mm.

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