Farm Table says:
This Primefact notes that agistment is a feeding option when feed is short on home property. Although a handshake approach to agistment is common, it is recommended that an agreement is put in place to reduce risk and help reach outcomes.
The Primefact is broken into the following topics:
- inspection of agistment site: food on offer, water, fences and gates
- cost of transport: can be expensive and are likely to be the equivalent of at least 6 weeks of feeding costs
- change in environment: change in pasture/diet parasites, clostridial diseases, burrs, weeds.
- person in charge of stock: important to ascertain who is in control. The ‘person in charge of stock’ has full responsibility under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979.
- stock-handling facilities: access, ease of unloading/loading, management procedure suitability,
- period of agistment
- fees: determined by seasonal conditions. Fee/head can be up to a point where it equates with hand feeding costs.
- feasibility of agistment: introduces concept of break-even time period.
- stock numbers
- limitations on stock movements:Where stock are moved interstate, a veterinary certificate must be obtained for the state of destination.
- other benefits of agistment
- written agreements
A list of issues to be considered in a written agreement includes:
- Fees and method of payment (e.g. whether payments are required in advance or payable in arrears).
- Length of the agistment, and whether the term can be extended.
- Access to the agistment land.
- Stocking rates – whether there will be a maximum or minimum number of stock that can be agisted.
- Whether the licensor has a lien over the stock if fees are unpaid.
- Whether progeny will be included in the numberof stock.
- Whether insurance is required.
- The period of notice required to terminate the agreement.
- Each party’s responsibility for welfare of the stock.
- Any authority given to request veterinary services.
- The procedure to follow in the case of an outbreak of disease.
- Inspection of stock by either party.
- Provision for special costs incurred by the agistor.
- Any disclaimer of the agistor’s responsibility.
The Primefact closes with a list of circumstances in which agistment is more likely an economical option:
- Agistment is available within a few hundred kilometres, and transport costs are reasonable.
- Agistment rates are relatively low.
- Feed available at the agistment site is of good quality.
- Hand feeding costs are high.
- The length of the agistment available is at least 12 weeks and preferably longer.
- Stock prices have already fallen due to the drought and it is expected that prices will rise at the end of the drought.
- The time period for which agistment is required is expected to be at least 8 weeks but generally no longer than 6 months – the latter will depend on the agistment rate charged.