Managing Sheep in Drought Lots


Type: PDF
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

One of the most important issues for any farm business emerging from drought is the need to restore the business to optimum productivity and profitability as quickly as possible - a "droughlot" may assist with this process.

The information in this publication aims to highlight the purpose, benefits and experiences of sheep producers managing sheep in confined areas during drought. The practice is commonly referred to under one of the following terms;

  • feedlot
  • sacrifice area
  • containment area
  • droughtlot

Of these terms drought lot is preferred because it is the most descriptive and has least emotive connotations.
Droughtlot refers to the maintenance feeding of sheep in confined areas, primarily in order to minimise pasture and related environmental degradation.

This book established guidelines on establishing and managing a droughtlot. It also highlighted the purpose, benefits, and experiences from several sheep producers who successfully managed droughtlot during the loom of drought.

It included the purpose of establishing a droughtlot, the required health and welfare of the sheep, and the appropriate selection of sites that all contribute to an effective sheep handling in droughtlots.

What were the key findings?

  • an establishment of drought lot is necessary because it assists the restoration of several enterprises leading to productivity and profitability in a quick manner. This is done by the preservation of pasture density or composition and curtailment of soil and nutrient loss
  • the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals – the Sheep detailed that the welfare requirements include adequate space allowances depending on the sheep’s size and population, sufficient trough of sizes 2cm or 20cm space per head, suitable 1.5cm of water space per head, and keen attention to shy feeders so that they are identified and eventually treated
  • the site does not require extensive area and high expenditures. As long as, it contains the good quality of the drainage, shelter, convenience to facilities, access to sufficient water supply, and least possible distance from the water storage to the watercourses
  • the book showcased various case studies from farmers who effectively planned and actuated appropriate actions in managing the sheep in drought lots. Their experiences resulted to one sure thing – an improvement of their productivity and profitability

Final comment

The book proffered a range and simple strategies of sheep handling and management in droughtlot. The appropriate management does not only focus on the site independently, it also involved the betterment of the feeding and handling strategies coupled with the proven and reliable experience of woolgrowers to be applied if it suits the inevitable circumstances.

2003 - Australia - AWI
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