An online drought resource has been launched for sheep and beef farmers affected by the dry conditions.
The resources, developed by Beef + Lamb NZ (B+LNZ Ltd) include a fact sheet outlining strategies to manage and mitigate the effects of drought, coping with stress on the farm and advice on feed requirements and animal welfare during the dry period.
Sam McIvor, chief executive of Beef + Lamb NZ, says with the correct planning and use of tools such as early weaning, body condition scoring and feed budgets, farmers can make the most efficient and effective use of limited feed resources.
“Scorching temperatures and minimal rainfall over recent weeks is concerning farmers throughout the country as feed quality and quantity falls away and feed crops struggle in the extreme heat.
“While no-one can make it rain, there are a number of management strategies that farmers can put in place to protect the future performance of their capital breeding stock, so we are encouraging farmers to visit our online resource.”
McIvor says one of the key concerns is the timing of this dry period, which will affect lamb growth.
“Farmers who would normally be able to wean and sell lambs are now looking at options around store lambs, at lighter weights, meaning lower values.”
The current weather patterns also appear to be persisting with forecast rain not arriving. In the event New Zealand does get rain, small amounts can only add to the frustration with increased risks of internal parasite burden and in some areas facial eczema.
“Conditions are variable between and within regions. We’re urging farmers to seek advice from Beef + Lamb NZ extension managers and other rural professionals. It’s also important farmers talk to their neighbours and look out for each other.”