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Flood recovery

Careful management can help minimise the impacts on productivity when a flood event occurs. Knowing the signs of pasture damage, parasites and disease that occur during and after flood events can make recovery faster and more effective.


The effect of flooding depends on the flow and temperature of water, soil types, depth and duration of flooding, the health and type of plant species growing and the amount of silt or debris deposited. These factors will determine if pastures successfully recover, or if resowing is needed due to plant deaths.

Not tolerant to waterlogging  Susceptible to water logging  Tolerant pastures 
  •  lucerne - take action if plant numbers fall below 6/sqm in irrigated pastures or 5/sq/m on dry land.
  • cocksfoot
  • veldt
  • Italian ryegrass
  • medic
  •  ryegrass and clover pastures - take action if plant populations fall below 50%.

Monitor the spread of weeds to prevent animals being exposed to toxic plants. Download the MLA Tips & Tools: Weed removers, pasture improvers - effective weed control

Animal health

In the event of a flood, use the following checklist to reduce impact and ensure a fast recovery.

  • Keep livestock away from areas that have been spoilt with floodwater from stockyards or other areas that had a high build-up of manure and urine.
  • Clostridial diseases, such as blackleg and pulpy kidney can increase due to bacteria commonly found in contaminated water and soil. Ensure all livestock vaccinations are up-to-date.
  • Flystrike, particularly body-strike, can be caused by wet wool and dermatitis. Monitor sheep daily.
  • Worm control to reduce parasite burdens in both sheep and cattle as floods provide ideal conditions for several species to flourish. Use worm testing tools such as worm egg counts (WEC), larval cultures or the Haemonchus dipstick to develop targeted drenching and grazing programs.
  • Virulent footrot often occurs in wet and warm conditions. Investigate sheep lameness.
  • Three Day Sickness and Akabane may increase as populations of biting insects such as mosquitoes increase. Look for symptoms.
  • Environmental mastitis is caused by mud and bacteria. Monitor lactating cows and ewes.
  • Restrict livestock from eating toxic plants. Implement weed control.
  • Inspect hay and grain for water damage or toxic mould growth as pasteurellosis, salmonellosis and botulism are bacterial diseases caused by ingesting contaminated feed or water that may become more prevalent after a flood.
  • If livestock show signs of ill-thrift or illness, seek immediate advice from veterinarians or DPI animal health officers.
  • Check fences and ensure they are stock proof to enable biosecurity to be managed and protected.

Flood assistance

In the event of a flood, state departments and farmer organisations should be contacted for information on the assistance and services available in the aftermath of the event. 

Support services

  • The Rural Mental Health Support Line is staffed by trained mental health personnel, who provide advice for people seeking mental health assistance for themselves, and assistance, advice and support for people who feel concerned for the mental health and wellbeing of people with whom they have contact - call 1800 201 123

  • Lifeline provides a national 24-hour telephone counselling service - 13 11 14 or visit

  • Beyondblue is the national depression initiative and is working with various agencies in NSW, QLD and VIC to provide support to those affected by the floods - call 1300 22 4636 or visit