Victorian primary producers are more aware than most, particularly after the devastating 2019/20 bushfires, the importance of being prepared and having a plan in place for their livestock.
Effects faced include:
- damaged fencing and other infrastructure
- facilities and supplementary feed stores
- burnt pastures and
- devastating loss of thousands of sheep and cattle.
Producers were also required to move around 160,000 livestock to alternative locations across Victoria and interstate urgently both prior to, during and post the bushfires.
Now is the time for livestock owners to get prepared and have a clear strategy to apply in the possibility of a fire emergency on their farm.
A key factor in minimising the threat to livestock during a bushfire or on extreme fire danger days, is to identify safer areas on-farm where livestock can be moved to.
The area you choose will depend on the type of livestock and their expected behaviour during a bushfire.
To reduce potential injury and death to livestock you should consider relocating stock to designated low risk areas during days of high fire danger and Total Fire Bans. Low risk areas include:
- ploughed paddocks, areas cultivated and kept free of combustible vegetation
- bared-out paddocks, provided they are well defended by fire breaks
- irrigated paddocks or paddocks containing green summer crops (green feed does not burn easily)
- stockyards that can be wet in advance— however, the yards must be well defended as the fire front passes.
All low risk areas should have sufficient drinking water to enable stock to remain in the area for extended periods of high fire risk and high temperatures, be protected by firebreaks and be free of leaf, twigs and bark build-up. Areas where there are dams and swamps are another possible option.