Is your property prepared for disasters?

In the north west, our properties are at risk from many types of disasters. Your risk will vary with the type of enterprise you run and where your property is located, and the impact of disasters will vary based on your level of preparation.

The most common disasters north west landholders are at risk of this season are grass fires, riverine flooding, and disease outbreaks.

We recommend you plan well in advance and understand the risks and hazards surrounding your home and land.

You have a duty of care during emergencies to protect any animals that are under your care. This includes livestock as well as pets and companion animals such as horses, cats and dogs. Being prepared for emergencies is crucial to a positive outcome for you and your animals.

A number of resources have been developed to assist landholders with preparing for disasters:

  • NSW DPI have produced a factsheet – Livestock Safety in Emergencies. This factsheet outlines how to prepare for the worst, and what to do after a natural Disaster emergency
  • Get Ready Animals is a website with resources for all animal owners to help them prepare for emergencies. It includes information on how to make an animal emergency plan, what to pack in a go-bag, how to prepare for horses and livestock, and planning for larger facilities like boarding kennels. There is a simple one “Animal Emergency Plan on a Page” which can be useful to identify the key things you need to do to prepare for disasters
  • Concerned about meeting audit requirements, or unsure about how to manage your NLIS records after a disaster? Meat and Livestock Australia have produced this document to assist landholders prepare for and recover from bushfires.

Grass fires

Recent rainfall across much of our region has led to significant grass and pasture growth. This, combined with reduced stock numbers due to the drought, puts us at a greater than usual risk of grass fires.

Grass fires can start suddenly and spread rapidly – up the three times faster than bushfires. Even seasoned farmers can be caught out by fast moving grass fires. It is important to prepare your property for the risk of grass fires to protect your stock, crops and other assets.

The NSW Rural Fire Service has developed several resources to assist landholders to prepare their properties. They recommend that all property owners develop a bushfire survival plan.

There are also resources specific to farms, with a Farm Fire Plan, available here.

The basic steps include:

  • Preparing your property
  • Keep short – mow it, graze it or slash it back
  • Maintain your machiner
  • Know where you can move your animals to safety
  • Check and maintain firefighting equipment like pumps and hoses
  • Make sure a fire truck can access your property – think about gates, bridges and obstructions
  • If you’re using fire on your property, check with your local fire control centre about getting the required permits
  • Discuss what you will do with your family and staff
  • Know the conditions
  • Keep important phone numbers and resources available in your phone.

Riverine Flooding

Much of the western part of our region is at risk of riverine flooding. Floodwaters west of Narrabri and Moree are generally slow moving, and floodwaters can remain high for weeks to months.

Landholders need to have plans in place for movement of stock to high ground, or movement to other properties away from the floodwater.

For those stock remaining on the property, it is important to ensure that there is sufficient feed available, and that stock will be able to access drinking water. This is particularly important as floodwaters recede, and stock can become bogged in mud.

Local Land Services have developed a Flood readiness kit, with lessons learned from previous flood events, to assist landholders with flood preparations.

Disease outbreaks

Biosecurity emergencies are caused when pests (including locusts), diseases and weeds have a negative impact on the economy, local environment and community.

The process of managing these emergencies includes prevention and preparedness to minimise the impact of outbreaks, responding to emergency incidents as soon as possible and conducting recovery operations.

We all play a role in preventing and preparing for biosecurity emergencies. Your actions will vary depending on the risks and emergencies that impact you, your animals, your property, your community and your industry. It is your responsibility to:

  • plan before an emergency
  • act during an emergency
  • recover after an emergency

The best way to prepare is to develop an On-Farm biosecurity plan. Templates and guidelines can be found here.

You can also find up to date information about the latest risks to Australian livestock industries, including African Swine Fever, African Horse Sickness, and Avian Influenza on Animal Health Australia’s website.

How we can help

Local Land Services staff assist NSW Department of Primary Industries to respond to natural disasters and biosecurity responses. During floods and after fires, we have staff on ground as soon as possible to assist affected landholders.

We can help with assessment of affected animals, with euthanasia and burial when necessary. We can assist with the provision of emergency fodder and water for stock. We set up animal evacuation facilities to provide emergency accommodation for animals. We also undertake agricultural damage assessments to gather data which assists with determining whether areas are eligible for disaster relief funding.

Help us help you

Your Annual Land and Stock Return information is essential to help us respond to emergencies.

This information, combined with the stock identification and traceability systems we support, are invaluable for helping during emergencies (eg fodder distribution) and potential disease outbreaks. Even if you have no stock, letting us know this via your return is important information.

Who to call for help

/Public Release. The material in this public release comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.