Important guides help manage extreme conditions

11 April 2017

Widespread heatwave conditions and record temperatures across several parts of Australia in early 2017 brought heat load management sharply into focus for many lot feeders.

And with winter on its way, extreme conditions present greater challenges for animal comfort and the environmental and practical management of a feedlot.

Two grainfed levy projects funded in consultation with the Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA) and managed by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) have recently been published to help lot feeders give their give cattle their best opportunity to be comfortable, healthy and perform throughout the year.

The Feedlot Design Manual and the Waste Management and Utilisation Manual contain best practice recommendations on pen design and drainage, shade design, and pen cleaning equipment.

The manuals were written by FSA Consulting staff including feedlot engineers Dr Peter Watts and Rod Davis and are available online to download for free.

MLA Feedlot Project Manager, Dr Joe McMeniman, said while excessive heat load can and does occur during hot dry conditions, it can also be experienced after a summer storm or rainfall.

“High day and night-time temperatures, low windspeed and excessive humidity for successive days can combine to cause serious heat risks,” Dr McMeniman said.

“Excessive humidity is a key risk factor, and lot feeders should be proactive in cleaning pens and ensuring they drain adequately in the lead up to and during summer.

“Similarly in winter, inadequate pen slope, pen surface engineering, drainage, or pen cleaning can result in sub-optimal conditions for feedlot cattle.”

In addition to sections on shade, site selection and design, the Feedlot Design Manual has a devoted section on covered housing systems, an area that is receiving increased interest after last year’s record wet winter in southern Australia.

The Feedlot Design Manual is available here.

The Waste Management and Utilisation Manual is available here.

For further information contact MLA Feedlot Project Manager, Dr Joe McMeniman, on 0447 264 341 or email: jmcmeniman@mla.com.au

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