As the feed starts to dry off across the island, most farmers are starting to think and plan their hand-feeding program for the coming summer months.
We all know that feeding sheep is a significant cost on any sheep or mixed farm enterprise so it pays to make sure you are investing those feed dollars wisely.
Unfortunately, climate change research suggests that southern Australia will experience higher annual temperatures and a decline in mean growing season rainfall (particularly winter and spring) over the coming decades.
This will affect the productivity and longevity of pastures, as well as the severity and prevalence of dry seasons and droughts.
More than ever, farmers are going to have to plan and be prepared for these dry conditions especially when it comes to feed and water for livestock.
The PIRSA Office in Kingscote has free copies of the newly updated Feeding and Managing Sheep in Dry Times, which provides farmers with practical guidelines and examples.
While the publication focuses on dry times and confinement feeding systems (feedlots), it does also include some useful information on getting through the normal summer autumn feed gap period.
Senior Soil and Land Management Consultant Lyn Dohle from PIRSA’s Rural Solutions said the guide provided some handy and easy to use ready reckoners for calculating supplementary feeding amounts and feed budgets.
“The guide also goes into detail about a range of animal health issues to be aware of, guidelines for agistment, how to set up confinement feeding systems and even how to solve common water problems like algae and muddy water,” she said.
If your water supplies get low over the summer months and you are concerned about salinity levels, remember that the PIRSA office in Kingscote can test water samples for salinity.
The office also has on hand a bale corer and feed test kits so you can know accurately the feed vale of your hay or grain to ensure that the correct rations are being fed out.