The drought – learnings from the North and Central West


For the last few months, Leading Sheep has circulated a series of newsletters summarising what Queensland sheep producers have learnt from the drought. As some areas across Queensland have received significant rainfall and pasture response, we now want producers to think about possible management and operational changes they can do to prepare for rain. Here is a summary of responses from producers in the North and Central West:

  • Repairs and maintenance on loose ends that are low cost and overlooked in busy times. This could include maintaining gateways or servicing bikes.
  • Manage flock condition, especially the core animals.
  • Maintain an off-farm focus.
  • Research historical rainfall patterns and try to adapt the enterprise to fit the historical figures more often than not.
  • Studying benchmarking data to determine major profit drivers and aspects of your business that are essential to maintain during drought. These will then act as the ‘engine’ when recovering from drought.
  • Use exclusion fencing to manage total grazing pressure and your properties resources. Country can be spelled to maintain integrity of the land which will in turn improve stock condition, especially when pest animal management is enforced.
  • If feeding stock, be prepared to continue your feeding regime for a couple of weeks after the rain event.
  • Ensure the areas around troughs and feeders are built up so animals have easy access to feed/water after rain.
  • Try to spell a few paddocks after rain and let it go to seed before putting animals back in.
  • Ensure bywashes are sound and pipes into dams are clear of debris so nothing obstructs inflow of water.
  • Lay back and enjoy the sound of rain on the roof!

Are you doing something now to prepare for rain? Leading Sheep invites you to contribute to this discussion via your local Leading Sheep Coordinator:

If typing is a challenge, please telephone. Your responses will be collated and circulated, anonymously if you so choose. Please keep your responses short – no more than five lines per idea.

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