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Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association

Restocking: Water availability and quality for animal health and productivity.

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When it comes to the wellbeing of livestock, water is by far the most important nutrient, and a decreased intake can negatively impact their health, reproduction and growth.

There has been a recent surge of restocking thanks to much needed rainfall across Australia, after challenging drought conditions, as well as surging beef prices due to high demand for Australian product.

Ongoing water security and availability absolutely cannot be taken for granted, and with how unpredictable the climate is in modern times, paired with stresses being placed on water resources, it is more important than ever to make smart water storage choices for your current and new livestock.

Before restocking there are five things you need to consider:

  1. Effect of pasture recovery
  2. Quality and availability of water
  3. Suitability and class of livestock
  4. Potential biosecurity concerns
  5. Updating and maintaining your records

Ensuring that you do so can ensure that you avoid mistakes, and minimise any unexpected costs.

Effect of pasture recovery

It is important to remain vigilant of pasture recovery.

After a drought rain produces a flush of new pasture growth that has high water content – around 80-85% - and low dry matter content.

This dry matter content, or “green pick,” contains the nutrients needed by livestock, who will often choose the new pasture over dry feed, resulting in less nutrient intake.

New fresh feed can also contain higher nitrate levels, which can lead to toxicity.

The low availability, and dry matter content can result in stock starving due to low substantial nutrient intake.

Quality and availability of water

Does your operation have an adequate supply of quality water?

The last thing anyone needs to happen is to destock again because their water supply has been exhausted or contaminated.

Many graziers depend on dams and other sources of surface water storage which can potentially become contaminated, unattractive to livestock and possibly toxic.

Investing in a durable stock water tank where the capacity matches the number and size of your livestock is one option to ensure a solid supply of quality stock water.

Over the last ten years, NTCA President, and General Manager for Tipperary Group, David Connolly, has had ten very large Pioneer Water Tanks installed across his stations.

The massive water storage supply has helped them to improve efficiencies of the operation, allowing them to consistently be on top of their water storage levels and availability.

Suitability and class of livestock

Patience is the key word here, as you may need to attend a few sales to find what suits your operation.

Although you may have a preference for a particular breed that has worked well for you in the past, it could also present an opportunity to start with genetics that are an improvement of what you’ve previously run.

It is imperative to think long term about the class of livestock that suits your microclimate, environment, and markets in order to avoid financial outlay on unsuitable stock.

Potential biosecurity concerns 

The unfortunate side effect of new stock, is that they can bring with them issues associated with disease and the introduction of parasites, weeds and other pests that may pose a risk to your existing stock, pasture and biome.

Requesting an animal health statement may help provide reassurance about the new animals’ health status, as well as any treatments they may have had.

Isolation from your existing stock further allows time to reveal any health issues that may be of concern, as well as voiding any weeds or pests they may have bought with them.

Updating and maintaining your records

As a purchaser of livestock, it’s your responsibility to update The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) database of the stock you are transferring onto your property. The obligation is on you as the purchaser to ensure the transfer is done.

Your Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) records need to reflect these movements as well, as it’s handy to quickly be able to refer to where the new stock came from and when.

So, when you’re ready to restock, the Pioneer team is here to assist you!

Restocking is an exciting part of getting back into business and Pioneer has helped countless agricultural operations over the years increase their water storage security.

When Paul McGrath, the Boreman on Paraway Pastoral Company, and his team in Rocklands - situated on the border of the Northern Territory and Queensland - were looking to expand from 40,000 head of cattle to 70,000, they knew they needed look no further than Pioneer.

Rocklands purchased an impressive 120 x GT220 Zincalume® Tanks, delivering a reliable long term solution that met the drinking needs of their current and future cattle.

We can do this because we have a vast list of features built into every water tank to increase long term performance.

You can rely on Pioneer Water Tanks to hold water and keep your valuable livestock alive as our tanks get the job done and perform outstandingly well in some of the most difficult and arid conditions on this planet!

If you’re restocking or looking for a water tank that will last the test of time, talk to us today on 1800 941 022.


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