A NSW Government website

Looking after Livestock

Resources to help primary producers care for livestock during drought.

Feeding and Nutrition

Drought feeding livestock

How you feed your livestock through drought is a crucial decision.

Feed and Fodder

When bringing fodder and feed onto your property, you need to think about its quality and nutritional value and the longer term biosecurity risks you might be exposed to like pests, weeds and diseases.

Confinement Feeding

Confinement feeding can help maintain livestock production during periods of limited feed availability and help maintain groundcover across other parts of the property

Feed Calculators

Access our range of Feed Calculators to support your decision making during drought.

Using hay or silage during drought

A factsheet on using hay or silage to feed drought affected stock

Drought-affected canola and wheat - feed quantity

A fact sheet to maximise the nutritional output from crops during drought.

Stock Water Requirements in Drought

How much water cattle and sheep require on a daily basis during drought can vary.

Importing hay from red imported fire ant affected area

Advice for importing hay into NSW from red imported fire ant infested areas.

Requirements for fodder purchased from interstate

Understand your biosecurity obligations of importing fodder and hay into NSW.

Feed Quality

Optimise the health and production of your livestock through the nutritional analysis of silage, mixed feed, total mixed rations, hay, pasture, grain, concentrates and forages.

Alternative roughage

In widespread droughts, the supply of hay (and its escalating price) forces beef producers to look for alternative roughage feeds.

Feeding pelleted rations

The use of manufactured feeds in the form of pelleted rations can be convenient when only a few animals are to be fed or when grain handling and storage facilities are not available.

Assessing stock feed additives and mineral supplements

Stock feed supplements may be needed to address livestock deficiencies during drought. This checklist can be used to assess the usefulness and economic benefit of stock feed additives and supplements.

Using mulga as a forage supplement for livestock in droughts

During drought, mulga provides a valuable feed source. Mulga can effectively supplement low quality pasture as the nutritive value of mulga leaf is largely retained through dry periods.

Fortified molasses mixes for cattle

Molasses is an excellent energy source in drought but needs to be fortified with urea and/or protein meal. Learn about recommended molasses rations, buying molasses, urea, by-pass protein, meatmeal, roughage, phosphorus, method of feeding molasses, mixing molasses, and managing its intake.

Feedlotting lambs

Feedlotting allows producers to maintain production when pasture availability is limited, to achieve rapid growth when feed prices are low, to generate cash flow and to value-add ration components (e.g. grain).

Creep feeding beef calves

Creep feeding is a simple management practice allowing calves to reach target market specifications and Meat Standard Australia grading at a young age, even in adverse seasonal conditions.

Tips through video

To feed or not to feed: weather forecasts and feeding decisions

NSW DPI's Dr Anthony Clark discusses weather forecasts and feeding decisions

Understanding drought fodder quality

NSWDPI Senior Research Scientist at Wagga Wagga Ag Institute, John Piltz, explains how to interpret feed test results and why they are important.

Drought feeding pregnant and calving cows

Brett Littler from NSW Local Land Services discusses strategies, management tips and feeding options.

Early weaning calves

Brett Littler, Senior Land Services Office (Livestock), discusses the benefits of early weaning.

On-farm water supply options and livestock management

A detailed and practical video designed to offer livestock producers genuine options and strategies for improving water quality for livestock production and the environment.

Case Study: How one farming family managed through the drought & their learnings

Animal Welfare

Animal welfare during drought

Animal welfare considerations are critical when managing stock during dry times, when feed and water resources are in short supply.

Beef cattle checklist during drought

Checklist for good beef cattle health and management in drought

Beekeeping during drought

During and after drought beekeepers need to manage the nutrition of honey bee colonies.

Sheep Connect NSW - Home

Sheep Connect NSW provides sheep producers with relevant, reliable and timely information and expertise to enable better business decisions when responding to seasonal conditions.

Pregnancy Toxaemia in breeding ewes

Pregnancy Toxaemia, also known as lambing sickness or twin lamb disease, is caused by low levels of glucose in the blood which adversely affects brain and nervous system function

Pregnancy Toxaemia in beef cattle

Learn to prevent and manage pregnancy toxaemia in beef cattle.

Prussic acid poisoning in livestock

Prussic acid is a potent, rapidly acting poison, which enters the bloodstream of affected animals and is transported through the body. The risk of prussic acid poisoning in livestock is increased during periods of drought, and even more so after drought breaks when stressed, stunted plants begin to grow.

Nitrate and nitrite poisoning in livestock

During periods of drought, the amount of nitrate in the soil can increase greatly leading to stock losses from nitrate/nitrite poisoning.

Humane destruction of livestock

Humane destruction of livestock

To ensure that livestock destruction is conducted humanely, efficiently and safely these guidelines have been developed to assist.

Disposing of deceased stock

When planning for on-farm burial there are a number of factors that need to be considered. These issues include the environmental, statutory controls, logistics and safety.