The message is still to destock pasture paddocks that have less than 750kg/ha of dry matter: save the soil and save the livestock
- Livestock: keep feeding livestock to maintain condition score and prevent health issues in late pregnancy (e.g. pregnancy toxaemia)
- Pasture, erosion and animal welfare: paddocks with less than 750 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha) of dry matter, or 50% groundcover, should be destocked now and livestock moved immediately to confinement feeding areas or heavier soils with better pasture coverage. Prevent animal welfare and erosion problems.
- Water supplies: community livestock and spraying water supplies are being used at a rapid rate. The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is working with the Water Corporation and Local Governments to monitor those water supplies.
- On-farm water reserves: are very low in some southern shires and some dams are badly fouled: check the depth of your dams, treat contaminated water, and check water quality for spraying crops and pastures.
- Climate outlook: is for slightly drier than average conditions over the next 3 months, and perhaps for the season.
- Seek professional advice about the costs and benefits of feeding, agisting or selling livestock if feed or water is limiting.
- Pasture feed on offer (FOO) and growth rate maps
- Plant available soil water: maps produced each month outside of the growing season and each fortnight in the growing season
- Seasonal rainfall update newsletter for a full set of recent and forecast information
- Statistical seasonal forecast web page for rainfall forecasts
- Livestock News AgMemo March 2019
- FarmHub: connects Australian farmers with services and support during tough times, such as drought
- National drought map: provides access to spatial data from Australian government agencies
Livestock and pasture situation
Pasture production in some southern shires has been much lower than average, and the risk of erosion over summer is high.
- Destock any paddock with less than 750kg/ha of dry matter, or less than 50% groundcover, or where large bare patches have developed. Do this as soon as possible.
- Do a livestock water budget now. Allow for silted dams, and a late start to the 2019 season.
- Do a livestock feed budget now. Include supplementary feeding over summer and into late autumn 2019.
Shires with very low pasture dry matter areas are Gnowangerup, Jerramungup, Kent, Lake Grace and Ravensthorpe.
See the nutrition links below.
Read these first:
- Drought feeding and management of beef cattle – a guide for farmers and land managers 2018: a PDF download (Agriculture Victoria)
- Drought feeding and management of sheep 2018: a PDF download (Agriculture Victoria)
- Feed budgeting for ewe flocks in the dry season (Lifetimewool)
- Feeding and managing sheep in dry times: a PDF download
- Confined paddock feeding and feedlotting
- Water quality for livestock
- Agisting livestock
And then these should help feed decisions:
- Grazing stubbles and dry pastures
- Supplementary feeding and feed budgeting of sheep: a full explanation of the options and how to choose feed sources based on energy and cost. Jump to the introduction of feed grains section
- Sheep feed value guide
- Feed cost calculator: calculate the lowest cost from a number of different sheep feeds
- Annual feed budget for sheep enterprises: estimate the supplementary feed requirements of a sheep enterprise for a single year
- CBH outturns and stockfeed: the site provides information on the process for acquiring stockfeed grain
Following germination of pastures
- Annual pasture quality and quantity
- Grazing sheep at the break of season
- Pasture manipulation – for grass control
- Supplementary feeding calculator for pregnant and lactating ewes
- Lifetime wool (break of season) tool
Health and animal welfare
- WA livestock disease outlook: a monthly newsletter for producers
- Is it fit to load? A national guide to selecting animals fit to transport: a PDF download (Meat and Livestock Australia)
- Many areas have reported heavy stubble loads, which may cause problems during seeding. Check your stubble management options.
- Water quality for spraying crops and pastures
- Grain Industry Association of Western Australia (GIWA) crop reports for 2018: a monthly forecasting service, released by the end of the second week each month, which estimates grain production and yield in Western Australia for the forthcoming harvest season. These reports have detailed delivery zone information for the month.
- Hay statistics and data for the South West Western Australia region (Dairy Australia)
Land and water information
- Reducing wind erosion risk
- Maintaining roaded catchments and dams
- Calculating dam water volume and drawdown by livestock and evaporation
- Community water supply program (Department of Water and Environmental Regulation): contact Tracy Calvert at email@example.com; 9841 0122 (Albany) or 0428 180 240
- Strategic community water supplies (Department of Water and Environmental Regulation): map of strategic community water supplies in the Western Australian grainbelt as of August 2017
Climate situation and outlook
- While the probabilities are neutral for the Great Southern and South Coast, the preference for below-normal rain for the South West suggests fewer or weaker cold fronts than usual for May.
Seasonal temperatures are likely to be warmer than normal over the lower west and south-west, with stronger chances of above-normal temperatures further inland.
- See the rainfall to date tool for your recording station
- See the last week's rainfall:
- Search for the daily rainfall and other climate records from your local station: Climate data online – Bureau of Meteorology
- Seasonal climate information: rainfall, soil moisture, frost risk
- Seasonal climate outlook newsletter
Health and finances information
- Western Australia’s rural health, financial and information services support directory
- Rural Financial Counselling Service WA: free call 1800 612 044 for free financial counselling services to assist primary producers
- Regional Men’s Health Initiative: call +61 (0)8 9690 2277
Contact your local DPIRD office to find out who can help you on any of the topics above.