Managing farms after the bushfires

Many properties across the state have been severely affected by bushfires.

Fires have burnt feed and fences, and for some – livestock, sheds and houses.

One good option producers have is sending livestock off on agistment.

This option not only prevents the need to hand feed large numbers of stock (when there are a number of other jobs to do) it also helps to protect burnt or partially burnt paddocks from erosion while allowing pastures the best chance to recover.

Burnt pastures should not be grazed until they have achieved significant growth to replenish energy reserves in their roots, and in the case of annuals grazed carefully to promote maximum seed set.

The amount of damage caused by fire will depend on a number of factors including the speed and heat of the fire as well as the pasture species. 

The level of damage can really only be assessed after the season break, when the pastures have had a significant opportunity to grow or germinate – delay any decisions to renovate until after this time.

It is equally important to carefully manage the paddocks that were spared from fire, to ensure they are not overgrazed and they are operating to their potential.

Paddocks may need to be identified and prepared for lambing or calving while some may need extra fertiliser for increased growth. For some producers, the only option will be full hand feeding in containment areas such as small paddocks or drought lots.

While most people have had plenty of experience at this during the drought, it still pays to seek advice from neighbours and advisers to help fine tune plans.

For those affected by fires, assistance is available in the form of:

1. A 50 per cent transport rebate for stock travelling to agistment from burnt areas and returning, as well as for fodder to burnt areas – visit www.dpi.gov.au/agriculture/emergency/flood or contact your local Livestock Health and Pest Authority. 

Paper work must be completed within six months of each movement. 

2. Fodder – fodder has been generously donated for those in need – contact NSW DPI andNSW farmers on 

1800 814 647. This number can also be used for those wishing to donate fodder.

3. Fencing – NSW Farmers have set up a donations fund to help producers with fencing. To seek assistance visit www.nswfarmers.org.au

4. Disaster relief loans of up to $130,000 for those in urgent need along with the potential to defer existing payments – contact the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593

5. General advice – contact your local DPI office for feeding and pasture advice as well as general assistance from Rural Support workers.

Damage caused to a property on Mates Gully Road near Tarcutta after the blaze earlier this month.

Damage caused to a property on Mates Gully Road near Tarcutta after the blaze earlier this month.