WOW! Check out the beautiful colours of this map!!! (Borrowed from Karl Lijnders facebook this morning!)
We're optimistic about the forecast for rain over many parts in the coming week.
With this forecast brings much hope to farming businesses. Hope that there is sufficient rain that falls softly on the land, and hope that pastures (and not too many weeds!) will spring forth soon after the rains fall. Then our thoughts move to the hope that the feeding program may slow or cease altogether, hope that the dust may be less prevalent, and hope that this isn't a one off for those who have not yet been under any decent falls.
It is imperative at this time, to plan for the future, without getting ahead of oneself!
Be mindful of the impact that the rain may have on accessibility for current feeding programs - and plan ahead. Feed ahead of the weather event, without being wasteful.
Some have been lucky enough to be under some previous evens, so releasing stock from containment may be happening soon!
Start thinking about how you might stage any transition from containment areas into pasture - I know, this seems to be getting a little ahead of the game, but plan to be methodical in the release of your stock from these areas. REMEMBER that your sheep WILL chase the pick if you let them out too early - and they WILL go backwards as a consequence of the quality of the short juicy pick, that is mainly water. (don't forget that this is a key 'event' for acquiring a break in the wool!)
Keep them contained until there is a body of feed that is going to be sufficient to meet their needs. This amount will vary according to the type of feed that grows, density of plants, and of course how much it rains! (and how fast it fell!) Added into this equation is the cost of feeding.
Soon after the rain event and well before they are released to the green feed would be a good time to give sheep a pulpy kidney booster - as going from 'green to grain' and 'grain to green' is risky for pulpy kidney - and nobody wants to see all the hard work during the drought come to naught via a pulpy kidney issue. (remember the pulpy kidney component of the vaccine doesn't last a full year, like the other components) Remember that the booster will take a little time to be fully effective - its not an instant thing!
Transitioning out of the containment area needs to be planned, and gradual, to allow the rumen bugs to adjust to the change in feed. Nitrate poisoning may be an issue - depending on what grows, but something again to be mindful of. Some have found success in giving mobs limited access - ie a couple of hours on pasture each day, and returning back to the containment area. This may all sound rather fiddly, but the effort will be worth it, as your stock will make this transition smoothly with some astute management.
REMEMBER: Don't release hungry sheep onto the fresh pasture - feed them ahead of the release.
There is a section in the Managing Sheep in Droughtlots publication on releasing sheep from containment areas - find it here: https://www.wool.com/globalassets/wool/land/drought-resources/accordion-1/2017-managing-sheep-in-droughtlots.pdf
And, don't forget our friends WORMS AND FLIES - yep, they have all been very quiet, and rain will bring them both back - so keep this in mind - and for all of your up to date info on these two fun topics look no further than ParaBoss.
Hoping all are under some useful much needed falls of rain 🙏🙏🤞🤞🐏🐏