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Handling sheep and cattle in the dry

Industry and Investment NSW livestock officer Greg Meaker and Agriculture and Food Department development officer Fiona Jones discuss the Stcokplan program.SHEEP and cattle producers have the opportunity to improve farm viability and responsiveness during the dry season through a workshop offered by the Agriculture and Food Department.

The workshops using the business program Stockplan are funded by the department and the Rural Business Development Corporation.

Agriculture and Food Department research officer Jeisane Accioly said the workshops would be of assistance to farmers in both reactive or proactive situations.

“These workshops take a whole-of-business approach to managing climate risks, minimising long-term impact and improving recovery,” she said.

The workshop provides hands-on experience with a software program designed to explore options for livestock such as feed, sell or agist; feed requirements and cost; stock structure and cash flow effects when trading livestock; and designing a stock containment facility.

“It doesn’t matter if farmers need to cull animals or are at the point of rebuilding their herd, they can just enter any decision and it calculates up to five or 10 years down the track,” Ms Accioly said.

The workshops have been run successfully in NSW and South Australia.

Industry and Investment NSW livestock officer Greg Meaker was recently in WA to support the delivery of the Stockplan program and said producers who attended the course were more confident in their approach to drought management.

Ms Accioly said the Stockplan program was flexible and the WA workshops would be individually tailored to local conditions.

“Basically we can’t run the same course at say, Lake Grace, Moora, Geraldton and Esperance,” she said.

Ms Accioly said the program took into consideration individual social characteristics.

“If it is early in the season and people have to decide if they’re going to feed or sell or agist, and someone has a part-time job and doesn’t have time to feed animals, you have to take that into consideration as well,” she said.

More information and an expression of interest form is available by calling DAFWA’s Bunbury office on 9780 6100.

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