How much water is left in your dam and how much longer will your ground water supply last?
These are the crucial questions farmers are urged to assess as the drought continues and summer heat starts to rise.
“Reports of deteriorating water quality and bore levels falling are on the increase across the Central Tablelands,” said Livestock Officer Brett Littler from Central Tablelands Local Land Services.
“With hotter summer temperatures and unusually windy weather, we are also seeing an increase in evaporation and water in dams rapidly drying up.”
As bore levels drop, mineralisation can increase. When water becomes saltier or harder due to increased mineral content, stock may drink less causing potential health problems and reducing weight gain.
“If the water in your dams or in your bore is about to run out, and you don’t have a contingency plan in place, you could be in serious trouble,” warned Mr Littler.
“Most livestock won’t survive more than a few days without water in hot weather, but as livestock sales have closed for Christmas, and processors are also shutting down, it will be getting close to mid January before you can offload stock through regular markets.”
Mr Littler advises producers to use paddocks with poor water supplies first before the last of that water dries up, and save paddocks with more reliable water supplies as back up.
“Monitor stock regularly and be ready to move them immediately if the water fails or falls to dangerously low levels.”
Detailed information on how to calculate water volume in dams is available in the Water Quality for Livestock section of the NSW DPI’s Drought Hub website.
“Doing some calculations and factoring in a higher than usual level of evaporation, will give you a clearer picture of how long your water is going to last,” said Mr Littler.
Farmers may also need to consider fencing and distances involved in carting feed if they are forced to shift stock to paddocks with alternative water sources.
For more advice on testing water quality and calculating water supplies for livestock, contact your nearest Central Tablelands Local Land Services office in Bathurst, Cowra, Lithgow, Molong, Mudgee or Orange.