Confinement feeding of cattle in drought: protecting the environment

Summary

Soil degradation and low pasture productivity post-drought are a common cost resulting from periods of drought for cattle producers. One of the major consequences of drought is the degradation of pastures as a result of overgrazing and management practices which involve leaving stock on pasture where they are supplementary fed. This practice often results in a loss of productive pasture species, particularly the perennial component, and a reduction in soil fertility due to erosion.

Strategies that can be considered include destocking through selling, or agisting stock, or concentrating stock into a small portion of the property (‘sacrifice’ areas) to be managed under more intensive conditions. The aim is to reduce grazing pressure and environmental damage to the majority of the property. This Primefact discusses the following:

  • Why feed in confinement?
  • Evaluating what stock to feed
  • Establishing the confinement area
  • Feeding
  • Water requirements
  • Management
  • Animal health
  • Welfare
  • Releasing cattle after drought



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Primefact 554 First Edition

Published: Jan 2007