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Help Coping With The Dry Season

16 November 2010

AUSTRALIA - Pastoralists affected by the continuing dry season can convene a group for a workshop to access the latest livestock advice and discuss management options.

The Department of Agriculture and Food is coordinating workshops which can be held at any time during coming months.

Department incident operations manager for rangelands Greg Brennan said the workshops are designed to assist pastoralists make critical decisions as the season progresses.

“This is a difficult time for pastoralists and industry so it is helpful to draw on the expertise of fellow station managers and professionals to discuss the range of challenging management decisions everyone is facing,” Mr Brennan said.

“The workshops can be designed to meet the needs of each group. Topics may include feeding options for different animal classes, budgets, transport considerations and other management strategies, such as animal welfare and planning for the recovery.

“The exercise can also run through individual case studies to collectively address issues participants are encountering.”

The first of the workshops was held at a meeting of the Meekatharra Rangelands Biosecurity Association.

The workshop was attended by 12 pastoralists and facilitated by private veterinarian Dr Paul Wynne-Houchin, who has extensive experience in the WA rangelands.

Mr Brennan said feedback from the workshop was positive.

“The participants found the workshop gave them good information and Paul answered questions that teased out some of the important issues about timely decision-making in dry seasons,” he said.

“They said the ruminant nutrition information was useful, as well as the management strategies for moving drought-affected stock.”

Pastoralists interested in holding a workshop should contact their local department office, or Mr Brennan on 9956 8554.

Funding for catering has also been made available through the Men’s Health group for communities to conduct a meeting to discuss drought management issues.

“These workshops could double as a social occasion,” Mr Brennan said. “The available funds can cover the cost of food and soft drinks so all the family can be involved.”

The department has been working with industry leaders to ensure pastoralists have the necessary support, tools and information to make informed decisions as the dry season continues. This has included station visits. Pastoralists have been supplied with dry season management information and a directory of support services.

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