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On-farm water planning avoids a dry argument

Livestock producers are being encouraged to assess how much on-farm stock water they have and how long it will last as we head into spring and summer.

Agriculture Victoria is encouraging producers to inspect their water storages and start making plans leading up to peak demands from livestock over summer.

Land Management Extension Officer Kerri Goschnick said the prolonged dry period has impacted a number of on-farm dams that require further rainfall and run-off to fill.

“The biggest loss of water from your storages through evaporation occurs between October and March each year. When dam levels are quite low, water quality can be quite poor which in turn can affect livestock health,” Mr Goschnick said.

Mr Goschnick said knowledge of stock drinking water requirements and potential sources of water were important for planning both annual and daily supply needs.

“Other farm water options can be investigated for your circumstances before levels become critical, such as stream extraction, groundwater, desalination and reticulated systems.

“Planning now will help you make informed decisions for the next three months and you can project this planning out six to twelve months or longer if there is little or no runoff,” he said.

“Weather forecasts from the Bureau of Meteorology are currently forecasting a relatively low chance of exceeding median rainfall across most of Victoria for the next three months, so it is a good time to also reconsider stock numbers while prices are good.

“On the bright side, if the next thunderstorm dumps 50 mm or more of rain, then your storages could be full in a matter of hours. All the same, it’s important to do the planning now to mitigate this potential risk.”

Agriculture Victoria has produced a booklet – Managing Farm Water Supplies – which covers farm water planning including farm water balance, stock water requirements, water quality, water testing, calculating dam volume and capturing rainfall from roof areas.

The booklet can be accessed by visiting https://bit.ly/2UPsdL4 or by contacting Agriculture Victoria at North Central or North East offices or customer service on 136186.