While Corangamite Shire’s roadsides are still too wet for grazing, farmers are encouraged to apply early for permits so they can start reducing fire hazards as soon as spring arrives.
Council Manager Environment and Emergency Lyall Bond said roadside grazing was permissible under the local law between 1 September and 31 May 2019, provided no protected native vegetation was present.
“Roadside grazing isn’t permitted during the winter months because wet soils lose their strength and are easily pugged, or compacted by the livestock’s hooves,” Mr Bond said.
“Pugging damages the soil structure, making it harder for rain to soak in, potentially causing drainage problems, erosion and loss of vegetation.”
“We encourage people to apply for a permit now so we can go out and look at the area and see if they are eligible.
Mr Bond said stock were only allowed to graze on roadsides during daylight and owners were required to put up a temporary electric fence for safety.
“We encourage owners to let their stock eat the grass down early and keep it down as conditions dry out in summer.
“If you apply for a permit now, it can be issued so you’re ready to go on day one.”
Mr Bond said permits carried a nominal fee of one dollar for legal reasons.
“That shows the stock owner’s insurer that the stock grazing on public land is a legitimate part of their farming enterprise,” he said.
The penalty for grazing cattle without a permit, which includes the winter period, is $400.
Landowners can apply for a roadside grazing permit here