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Department of Primary Industries:
Useful Drought Advice For Farmers

Many landholders in the Gippsland region are beginning to feel the impacts of the drought, while those more fortunate are finding ways to help others out with fodder or agistment...

By DNRE - 2nd December 2002 - Back to News

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Many landholders in the Gippsland region are beginning to feel the impacts of the drought, while those more fortunate are finding ways to help others out with fodder or agistment. Supplementary feed for stock is becoming expensive and getting through this dry time will be as challenging as ever.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) has prepared some new tools in response to the current drought in Victoria to help with those crucial decisions, like whether to off load or feed stock. The "Drought Preparation and Survival Guide" contains the latest information on the factors affecting our weather, strategies to conserve land and water, and handy tips on feeding livestock. It also covers ways to protect our human resources on the land, and provides contact details for the full range of rural service providers.

For those seeking more in-depth information on managing sheep and beef cattle in a drought, NRE has revised its publications: "Drought Feeding and Management of Sheep", and "Drought Feeding and Management of Beef Cattle".

Copies of the "Drought Preparation and Survival Guide", and the Drought Feeding and Management books are available through the following NRE offices in Gippsland: Bairnsdale, Maffra, Yarram, Ellinbank and Leongatha.

More assistance with drought management is available through NRE’s Drought Response Centre on 136 186, or visit the website:

BeefCheque Focus Farm Report


The following information has been collected from BeefCheque focus farms to assist Gippsland farmers with grazing management decisions. This information is for the October/November period.

Below average rainfall across Gippsland during October/November has resulted in below average pasture growth. Most of Gippsland is experiencing a below average spring. Hay is a scarce commodity.

The Stratford farm received 15mm rain for the period, resulting in average pasture growth rates of

7.7 kg Dry Matter per hectare per day. Average pasture cover is now 1401 kg Dry Matter per hectare, resulting in 117 Dry Matter tonnes of available feed or 46 days feed ahead at current consumption.

The farm is currently carrying 11.9 Dry Sheep Equivalent per hectare or 311 cows and calves and 8 bulls on 291 hectares. Bulls are still out.

The Yarram farm received 25 mm rainfall, resulting in average pasture growth rates of 9.5 kg Dry Matter per hectare per day. Average pasture cover is 1361 kg Dry Matter per hectare or 45.8 Dry Matter Tonnes available feed, giving 26 days feed ahead. The farm is carrying 19.0 Dry Sheep Equivalent per hectare or 198 dry cows on 127 hectares.

For further information contact Stuart White or Fiona Baker at NRE Maffra on 51 470 800.


"Victorian consumers can be confident our fresh fruit and vegetables are clean," says Ruth McGowan, State Co-ordinator of Horticultural Residue Monitoring with the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE).

"NRE's residue monitoring programs continue to demonstrate the high level of compliance by Victorian farmers with relevant food standards for chemical residues and contaminants," Ms McGowan said.

For the past 15 years residue monitoring has been an important tool used by NRE to reduce the potential adverse impacts of farm chemicals on the environment and marketing of produce.

In 2000/2001 the Department spent almost half a million dollars on both targeted and random (statistically significant) residue monitoring programs as a key part of our risk management approach to chemical use. Millions more are spent by other industries, such as beef and milk, on national residue monitoring programs. All these programs are aimed at substantiating the 'clean and green' reputation of Australian primary produce.

NRE residue monitoring is an effective and reliable way of meeting the community's expectation of clean food. Residue surveys also provide a guide to how well farmers are using farm chemicals.

If good agricultural practice has been followed in the use of a chemical then there should be no detection of unacceptable residues, ie residues above the MRL (Maximum Residue Limit) stated in the Food Standards Code.

Data generated from the targeted and random residue monitoring programs is presented in a recently released report from NRE entitled "Victorian Produce Monitoring; Results of Residue Testing 2000/2001". The results of these monitoring programs demonstrate that, out of a total of 847 samples taken, 99 per cent were free from unacceptable residues.

Copies of the report are available free of charge from the NRE office at Ellinbank, phone 5624 2222.


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