GLOUCESTER is perched on a ‘knife’s edge’ with the looming threat of severe drought still very real.
More than two dozen local beef producers attended a drought forum organised by the newly formed Hunter LLS (Local Land Services) last Tuesday.
The forum included information on livestock inventories, calculating feed requirements, marketing options, pastures outlook, cattle health risks, availability and cost of feed and rural financial counselling.
Similar forums have been held across the Hunter region in the past few weeks.
While recent rain has reduced the pressure on farmers somewhat, an extended period of dry would put extreme strain on the local agricultural industry.
Hunter LLS livestock officer Liz O’Grady urged all stock owners to consider reducing their herds leading into winter.
“The aim of these forums has changed a little, they’ve become a little more focused on helping farmers prepare for winter,” she said.
“There is still some growing time to secure bulk feed for winter, but we’re also encouraging producers to consider other options.
“We’re still recommending producers consider reducing their herds by as much as 20 per cent heading into the cooler months. If nothing else it reduces some of the pressure.”
Producers were encouraged to analyse whether maintenance feeding their cattle was the best option heading into winter or whether it would make more sense to send their stock to market.