STOCK-CONTAINMENT TRAINING

Stock Containment area
Stock Containment area

Containment feeding areaStock-containment area training days 

By Sophie Hanna, Livestock Project Officer with Riverine Plains, the Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption & Innovation Hub’s North-East- Node lead

A recent workshop in South Australia explored stock-containment areas and how the design and management system should be tailored to suit each farm and farmer.  

The two-day, train-the-trainer workshop was held in Nuriootpa, SA, and featured Deb Scammel from Talking Livestock, along with advisers from South Australia and Tasmania. Three advisers from the Vic Hub’s South-West Node lead, Southern Farming Systems – Cam Nicholson, Grace Evans and Jessie Wettenhall – as well as Jane McInnes and myself from Riverine Plains, also attended. 

As part of the workshop, attendees visited three farms where the group explored information on decision making, design, stock management and nutrition.  

Stock Containment area

Value of containment areas

Containment areas can be valuable when conditions are dry, as having infrastructure in place can alleviate stress around deciding what to do with stock when paddock feed becomes scarce.

Likewise, having decision-making processes prepared for these challenging periods can reduce stress and help make thorough decisions.

Developing decision matrices allows critical factors and tipping points to be identified, refined and written down, creating clarity. The group learned how to assist farmers in developing decision matrices that are unique to each farm.   There are many design considerations for containment areas, including pen size, infrastructure, regulations, feed and water troughing, shelter, soil type, topography, aspect and accessibility. The group worked through the key design considerations before seeing them in practice on three sheep-producing farms in the Australia Plains and the Barossa Valley. Containment feeding area

Containment areas serve numerous valuable purposes over various seasons for each of the farmers. Each area can be tailored to meet the objectives of the farm and the farmers – no two containment areas will be the same.

Diligent stock and nutrition management in containment is critical for maximising performance and maintaining animal welfare. Deb led the group through key nutrition information and budgeting tools, as well as key animal-health issues, upskilling the trainers to be able to work through the critical considerations with farmers. 

The two days were an extremely valuable professional development opportunity for the trainers who have formed an information sharing network to keep up to date on all things stock containment in south-eastern Australia.  

Containment feeding area

 

More information  

Riverine Plains and Southern Farming Systems will be sharing these insights through workshops and one-on-one support to interested farmers early next year.

If you would like to participate in one of these workshops and find out more about  establishing or improving an area, or how to best utilise one, please contact Sophie Hanna at Riverine Plains or Jessie Wettenhall at SFS.

The late November workshop was led by the South Australian Drought Hub