Weather extremes or sudden changes in conditions can result in extra cost or lost income for a farming enterprise. In this article we discuss a number of strategies to have in place when wet weather is due to hit.
Arrange shelter for stock
As we often mention, a covered area such as a roof over your yards, can be invaluable when rain arrives.
Maybe you have lambing ewes that may particularly vulnerable to the cold and wet, or perhaps you are scheduled to start shearing the day after a heavy rain is set to approach.
Having shelter for your livestock on your property gives you options and back-up plans in the case of a wet weather event, helping you to continue on with tasks at hand and prevent your livestock experiencing conditions like cold stress.
Protect your fodder with proper storage
We know that rain can cause nutrient leaching, leaf shatter and a loss of nutritional value in baled hay, so it’s key to protect your hay when wet weather is forecast.
When wet weather is expected, be sure to move exposed hay undercover. Remember to be mindful of moisture content in hay and monitor for any signs of heating.
The good news is that Australian primary producers can now write of the full cost of animal fodder storage assets, such as hay sheds, in a financial year.
So now may be the ideal time for you to invest in a new hay shed.
Move and store machinery
If you’re expecting significant rainfall make sure your heavy machinery such as tractors or seeders are undercover in your machinery shed.
Keeping your machinery sheltered in a dedicated machinery shed maintains the resale value and extends the life of your vehicles, keeps it functioning properly and provides security from vandals and thieves.
Take measures to control mice and rats that move inside out of the cold, wet weather looking for winter food and shelter.
Some of the steps you can take, according to Agriculture Victoria, include: “Cards or paper squares 10cm X 10 cm soaked in canola oil can be pegged out overnight at 10 metre intervals across a transect and observed for the level of feeding damage … A more accurate and quicker assessment can be achieved by walking a series of transects across a paddock and counting the number of active burrows. An average of a number of transects will increase the accuracy of monitoring.”
Most importantly, “if control measures are to be at all effective, they need to be applied as early as possible in the breeding season and should aim at reducing the ability of mice to live and breed in areas near crops, storage facilities and buildings.”
Clean and clear gutters
It is often a good idea to clear gutters as soon as the autumn leaf drop is finished. This helps ensure the most efficient rainwater harvest.