EXCELLENT information about cattle was imparted at Tamworth’s drought-information workshop yesterday – and organisers have heard the call by attendees to hold another one specifically about sheep.
The New England North West Landcare Network, in conjunction with rural financial counsellors, is also hosting workshops today in Gunnedah and Wee Waa to provide farmers with advice.
Mark Kesby, a regional landcare facilitator with New England North West Landcare, was pleased 55 farmers showed up to yesterday’s session at the Tamworth Services Club. It was more than he had anticipated.
“I guess it shows the need for this. People were very positive – they came up and thanked us,” Mr Kesby said.
Ian Haidee, of Riverbend, Barraba, said the workshop was “very good – certainly very hard-hitting”.
Barry Parton of Rosebud, near Hallsville, said it was good to receive information on “whether it is worthwhile to feed cattle or not”.
Alastair Rayner, principal of RaynerAg, talked about feeding options during times of drought, while rural financial counsellor Julie Roy detailed what assistance was available.
District vets Judy Ellem and Bob McKinnon spoke about how drought affected livestock and health problems to look out for.
Mr Rayner said it was important that if a cattle herd had low fat scores, graziers should look to how to improve the stock through an improved feeding regimen.
“Don’t just pump them through the saleyards – why should your problem become someone else’s problem?” he said.
It was important to have a plan and to talk to people for advice.
“We know that the market is full of cattle. My question to you is: have you talked to your agent and have you talked to your processor?” Mr Rayner said.
“If you know there’s a five-week delay, you can create a planning window.
“If you’re thinking of destocking, identify the animals that need to go immediately ... prioritise your cow herd.”
He spoke about weaning calves and cow requirements.
“As soon as the calf drops on the ground, the energy needs of a cow doubles,” he said.
Calves under 150kg didn’t have a functioning rumen, so never feed them white cottonseed.
Further workshops will be held today – at the Gunnedah Civic Theatre from 9am-12.30pm, and at the Wee Waa Bowling Club from 4.30pm-7.30pm.