What is fodder?

Fodder is any hay, straw, chaff or silage used for livestock feed or bedding.

I am considering agistment, where should I start?

A formal lease agreement is to protect you, the farm and the livestock on it. A lease or agistment agreement should include some of the following:

  • Length of agreement, option for renewal, period of notice for termination.
  • Fees payable (in advance or arrears). If there are outstanding payments will a lien (line of security) be taken over the livestock. Agistment rates are based on dollars per head per week.
  • Average stocking rate, minimum and maximum number of animals that you will allow to graze at any one time.
  • Are progeny included? If you agist cows and they calve, will there be extra fees?
  • Animal welfare requirements and responsibility, e.g. fresh water must be always available. Usually the agistor's responsibility.
  • Inspection of livestock, by whom and how often. This is usually the livestock owner's responsibility.
  • Infrastructure repairs and maintenance, e.g. fences. This is usually the livestock owner's responsibility.
  • Insurance, will the livestock need to be insured by the owner?
  • Indemnity agist owner of the livestock for costs and liability.
  • Vet call out and associated costs.

There are online agreements, which you might consider, otherwise ask your solicitor to draft something up.

Also your livestock agent is a good start in terms of knowing up to date rates and what is available.

Who do I contact to assist with hay/fodder production?

The Agricultural Contractors of Tasmania provide a booklet that lists contractors and the services they provide – go to www.agriculturalcontractorsoftasmania.com.au.

Why can’t I cut during a total fire ban?

In extreme circumstances, harvesting and use of equipment like movers and slashers may be banned dependant on the weather and the condition of the vegetation. The Tasmania Fire Service Act 1979, allows the Fire Service to restrict the use of many types of machinery that could cause a fire but they utilise this power carefully. If a type of machinery or equipment is banned, all restrictions are clearly identified in the declaration of the ban and are all widely advertised in newspapers, the TFS web site and social media.

TFS has a variety of brochures that help guide safe farming practices during total fire ban days and other severe fire weather. You can find this information at any of the TFS regional offices or on their web site at www.fire.tas.gov.au.

Who can I contact on nutritional advice?

An excellent point of reference is Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA). To see their advice regarding nutritional information click here.

I’m in need of financial counselling – who do I speak to?

Rural Business Tasmania provide a really useful financial counselling service – to see more click here.

I am seeking emotional support – who can I call?

If you, or anyone you know in the rural community needs a bit of help we encourage you to contact Rural Alive and Well on 1300 4357 6283 or via their website here.

How can I find out about alternative and drought tolerant species?

A Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) study has investigated different pasture species that have a much better drought tolerance than others on the market. The main goal was to determine which perennial grasses and legumes would provide the best yield and best persistence in the low to moderate rainfall (500 mm) regions in Tasmania. Their work identified four alternative legume species and two grass species that could potentially provide very good persistence and exceptional drought tolerance for grazing. The four legumes are; Talish Clover (Trifolium tumens), Caucasian Clover (T. ambiguum), Stoloniferus Red Clover (T. pratense var, stoliniferum), Lucern x Yellow Lucerne Hybrid (Medicago sativa x M. sativa subsp. Falcate). The two grasses are Coloured Brome (Bromus colouratus) and Hispanic Cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata var hispanica).

Even though perennial ryegrass is popular due to affordability and past reliability, it has insufficient drought tolerance in comparison to the species outlined in this study, and similar studies on drought tolerant alternate species. Due to the changing climatic conditions in Tasmania, looking for ways to avoid a further fodder crisis is imperative, and some of the best ways to do that is to consider alternative species. To read more about the grass species mentioned, please click here for Species for Profit PDF, an excellent guide for different species. To read the journal article, please click here.