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Livestock at Risk from Adelaide Hills Bushfire Ash

12 January 2015

AUSTRALIA - Ash fallout from the Adelaide Hills bushfires is posing a risk to livestock due to potential impacts on pasture and water sources.

Dr Roger Paskin, the Chief Veterinary Officer with the Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA), has warned livestock owners to check the quality of their pasture, fodder and water sources in the wake of the bushfires.

“Ash falling on pasture and fodder near the bushfires may affect its quality and palatability,” Dr Paskin said.

“If possible, livestock should be placed on pasture or fodder with the lowest ash burden. If this is not possible, livestock should be fed newly brought-in fodder or moved to properties outside the area affected by fire and ash.”

Dr Paskin said ash may contaminate water sources including creeks, dams and rainwater tanks.

“Ash entering water sources may affect the quality of the water and increase the possibility of undesirable bacterial or algal growth,” he said.

“If water looks, smells or tastes unusual, alternative water sources for livestock should be sought.

If rainwater tanks used for stock watering become contaminated with ash, then the tanks and associated roofs, gutters and pipes will need to be properly flushed and cleaned. It would be best to flush and clean equipment as soon as possible, so any new rainwater can be provided to livestock. Livestock owners should seek expert advice regarding flushing and cleaning equipment used for stock watering.

“If livestock owners have any doubt about the quality of their pasture, fodder or water in the wake of the bushfires, they should seek their veterinarian’s advice.”

Farmers needing urgent assistance to locate, inspect and assess burnt livestock can call PIRSA’s Stock Assessment Hotline on 8207 7847.

Farmers needing advice on the feeding and agistment of animals, or wishing to donate assistance or fodder, should call Primary Producers of South Australia on 8297 2299.

TheCattleSite News Desk

Top image via Shutterstock

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