Farmers urged to play it safe with stock

Central West Local Land Services District Veterinarians are asking Grenfell landholders to be mindful of the impacts of the heat on their livestock with another week of high temperatures forecast.

Heatwave conditions with maximum temperatures exceeding 40 degrees and minimum temperatures remaining around 30 degrees have already occurred over the first six weeks of summer.

During these conditions, livestock producers are reminded there are a number of management practices that should be followed.

These include handling stock in the coolest parts of the day, such as early morning or in the evening, and ensuring stock have access to sufficient amounts of good quality drinking water.

In addition to these measures, Central West Local Land Services District Veterinarian, Jillian Kelly said landholders need to consider the impacts of humidity and access to water points during the warmest times of the year.

“If the temperature is 35 degrees and the relative humidity is at 10 per cent, the apparent temperature of a sheep may be 32 degrees whereas if the relative humidity is at 50 per cent, the apparent temperature could increase to 41 degrees,” Jillian said.

“At this temperature, there will be damage to body tissues and an extreme danger of heat stress.

“When considering water, stock need access to a good quality supply. If water in dams and rivers is low, stock will wade through which fouls the water and increases the chances of stock bogging.

“If the water is dirty, stock may reject it, consider alternatives such as fencing off watering points and pumping water through troughs.

“Another aspect to consider is the effect that extreme heat could also be having on sheep in early gestation. Early embryos are particularly sensitive and could be terminated.

“Sheep producers who are currently joining should bear this in mind and consider leaving rams in a few weeks longer.”