Grenfell farmers urged to not get caught out by a cold snap

Farmers from Grenfell and on the Central Tablelands are advised to start planning ahead now to avoid being caught out by the next winter cold snap.

That's the message from Central Tablelands Local Land Services, particularly for sheep producers, as drought affected sheep will struggle to survive in harsh winter weather.

"Winter can be a difficult time for livestock, and their capacity to cope with cold is reduced if they're in paddocks with little pasture," Senior Land Services Officer (Livestock) Brett Littler said.

In areas where rainfall has been limited, cold temperatures and frosts will further slow pasture growth, making it more likely that stock will need to be given additional feed in the event of a severe cold change.

"Anyone lambing or shearing during the coming weeks will be well aware of the risks sheep face during a cold snap," Brett said.

"Keeping feed up to a mob is essential, and well worth the added expense and effort when you consider the price sheep are fetching at market, and the potential lost profits due to a reduced lambing percentage.

"Moving stock to paddocks with better shelter will also significantly improve the survival prospects of valuable animals."

Access to detailed forecasting tools for snow and cold weather can also help farmers avoid being caught out by a cold snap.

'ASKBILL' predictive software (www.askbill.com.au/#/home) can send out a cold snap alert that will predict the mortality risk for sheep up to six weeks off-shears exposed to a sudden plummet in winter temperatures.

The cold snap alert can give farmers up to five days notice to plan shelter or extra feed to give newly shorn sheep the best chance of survival.

The Bureau of Meteorology also gives farmers free access to 'MetEye' seven day wind, rain, snow and temperature forecast maps www.bom.gov.au/australia/meteye/) for all locations across Australia.

MetEye provide detailed forecasts on the timing of snow falls broken into three hour blocks, so you can gauge precisely when to expect snow and bad weather.

For more information about planning ahead to manage severe winter weather, contact Brett Littler at Central Tablelands Local Land Services on 0427 007 398.