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Feeding sheep is a significant cost to any sheep or mixed farm enterprise in southern Australia. The cost is usually managed by annually sourcing feed on-farm. However, this feed source can become scarce when we experience unusual dry spells within seasons (termed a 'dry season', such as a dry winter or spring), a late break to the season, a drought year, or even worse, successive drought years.

Climate change research suggests that southern Australia will experience higher annual temperatures and a decline in mean growing season rainfall (particularly winter and spring) over the coming decades. This will affect the productivity and longevity of pastures, as well as the severity and prevalence of dry seasons and droughts. More than ever, these dry conditions need to be planned for, and carefully managed for the sustainability of the farm business, the sheep industry and the environment.

This publication aims to provide farmers with practical guidelines and examples, for feeding and managing sheep during dry seasons and drought years. Whilst th publication focuses on dry times and confinement feeding systems (feedlots), it does also include some useful information on getting through the normal summer autumn feed gap period.

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Agistment, Stress, Animal health, Drought, Nutritive value, Sheep feeding, Water requirements, Animal welfare, Feeds, Dry conditions, Sheep diseases, Supplementary feeding, Western Australia


Animal Sciences | Plant Sciences


This publication is a joint effort between the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia and Primary Industries and Resources South Australia. It is an update of Bulletin 4651 and originated from the PIRSA produced 'Feeding Sheep' bulletin Number 2/94.

Feeding and managing sheep in dry times

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