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Feeding for Drought & Survival

Dry seasonal conditions need to be planned for, and carefully managed for the sustainability of woolgrowing enterprises, the industry and the environment.

Drought is not easy to define. Some feel they are in drought after just a few weeks of no rain, whereas others may consider that there is a drought only if the paddocks are bare.  It all depends on the individual's experiences and the climatic region they live in.

The simplest definition of drought may be "when rainfall is insufficient for normal farming practices to be conducted".

According to the 2008/09 national review of drought policy, drought conditions in Australia are likely to occur more often and be more severe in key agricultural production areas.

Dry seasonal conditions need to be planned for, and carefully managed for the sustainability of woolgrowing enterprises, the industry and the environment.

  Sheep droughtlot in Darkan, Western Australia.
Sheep droughtlot in Darkan, Western Australia.

 

Woolgrower innovations during drought

Have you got any tips and tricks that you’ve been using during the drought that you’d like to share to help your fellow woolgrowers?

If so, please let us know what it is (ideally with a photo) and AWI will share it on. Here are a couple of tricks that have been seen being used regarding feeding and watering stock.

 

Feed troughs using repurposed materials

In confinement areas, feed troughs are necessary to control the amount of feed animals consume, and to prevent feed wastage and animal health problems.

However, troughs need not be expensive and can be designed relatively easily with materials on-hand.

Examples of materials we’ve heard being used include repurposed conveyor belt matting, tarpaulin and shade cloth (pictured).

 

Feed troughs using repurposed materials

Poly water trough

Pictured here, a 150mm poly water trough in a containment area is very effective and cheap to make.

The size of water trough is not as important as replenishment rate of trough. An 8 foot trough can water 800 sheep if the replenishment rate is very good.

Small troughs with good replenishment rates do not get as hot and take less time to clean.

 

Poly water trough

If you have been using or seen a new or interesting way to tackle some of the challenges of the drought that you think other woolgrowers might benefit from, then let AWI know. It might be simple tip, or a product that you’ve produced – we’re interested in all your input.

Please send in your tips, and any (high resolution) photos, via email to drought@wool.com. Include your name, property name, address and phone number in your email. Also include a brief description of what each photo depicts.

AWI will then compile the tips to distribute them via its Wool.com website, e-newsletters, Beyond the Bale or via Twitter. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Further Information

AWI drought management resources - a range of drought planning, management and recovery resources for woolgrowers going into, enduring and recovering from drought.