Managing pastoral stock and grazing in challenging conditions was the focus of a dry season response workshop in the Kimberley.
The event, delivered by the Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association (KPCA), pulled together about 50 people from the Kimberley and Pilbara pastoral industry to discuss the difficult season and management tactics.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development officer David Griffiths provided an overview of the department’s work with the pastoral industry across the northern rangelands as part of the dry season response program.
“With the latest Bureau of Meteorology forecasts indicating a high probability of a late onset to the wet season, it is vital that seasonal management remains a priority,” Mr Griffiths said.
“The prolonged dry period means feed and water availability continues to deteriorate.
“DPIRD has been liaising with landholders and visiting properties, and we will be broadening our engagement with pastoralists around animal welfare requirements as the season progresses.
“We continue to look at areas including herd management, transport, agistment, feral animal control, information forums, fit-for-purpose spatial imagery and decision support tools to assist producers.”
Mr Griffiths said many pastoralists had enacted dry season herd management plans and moved early on mustering and destocking.
“For the north, year to date cattle turn off figures have increased substantially from 2018, with a 66 per cent increase in live export, 22 per cent increase in local processing and a 59 per cent increase in cattle transported south for backgrounding and processing,” he said.
Participants heard from grazing land management consultant Jill Alexander about managing the feedbase in a variable climate, including key decision dates, along with Kimberley and Pilbara pastoralists’ perspectives on key considerations when managing season.
The topics of animal nutrition, scope for geo-referencing cattle, and use of weather forecasting were also covered.
KPCA Chair David Stoate said the half-day workshop on Friday, held at Roebuck Plains, provided the opportunity to get the latest seasonal information to pastoralists gathering for the annual KPCA Livestock Handling Cup.
“The workshop also provided a valuable opportunity for those attending to better understand the information already available through the Bureau of Meteorology’s website and how to interpret that information,” Mr Stoate said.
“This also included an overview of the newly released September to November Pilbara and Kimberley Seasonal outlook through the Northern Australia Climate Project funded by MLA, the Queensland Government and the University of Southern Queensland.”
Seasonal information including tools for managing livestock in dry conditions and contacts for other support services is available at the department website.
Jodie Thomson, DPIRD media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937