What does a “Warning to Sheep Graziers” mean?

The month of August has seen a number of warnings to sheep graziers within many areas of NSW and Victoria. Weather conditions such as these are a high risk for losses of lambs and sheep.  

Sheep that are at the highest risk include:

  • Freshly shorn sheep
  • Young lambs
  • Ewes in the third trimester of pregnancy
  • Sheep light in condition (body fat)

What can you do to help protect your sheep when sheep grazier alerts are announced?

  • Move sheep into the most protected paddocks – trees and tall grasses or into a shed
  • Ensure ewes have access to good feed and ensure that they continue to graze (at high risk of pregnancy toxaemia)
  • Your best protection against cold weather is ensuring sheep maintain a healthy body condition score (fat cover) of 3+ during winter.

Where to find these warnings? The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) puts out weather warning updates several times a day. These can be found at: http://www.bom.gov.au/nsw/warnings/index.shtml  These warnings are also announced on local radio stations.

An example:

Warning to Sheep Graziers for the Australian Capital Territory, Southern Tablelands, Central Tablelands, Snowy Mountains and South West Slopes forecast districts

Issued at 3:19 am EST on Thursday 23 August 2012.

Sheep Graziers are warned that rain areas and strong northwesterly winds turning colder westerly are expected during Thursday. Areas likely to be affected include the Australian Capital Territory, Southern Tablelands, South West Slopes, Snowy Mountains and Central Tablelands forecast districts. There is a high risk of losses of lambs and sheep exposed to these conditions.

The next warning will be issued by 11:00 am EST Thursday.