Smooth grazing – trouble-free agistment

Thynne + Macartney

Type: Article
Knowledge level: Intermediate

Farm Table says:

Simple, easy to read advice and case material relating to agistment of stock.

In this article, Ari McCamley from Thynne + Macartney outlines ways to avoid agistment-related disputes.

The arguments are presented under three key headings:

Reaching agreement

  • Relying only on handshakes or incomplete notes can give rise to costly legal disputes.

For example, in Hornery v McDonald & Anor [2006], the owners of cows and calves agisted on a property at Blackall sued the landowners claiming that insufficient feed was provided for the stock, resulting in the failure of a subsequent artificial insemination program.

  • A complete written agistment agreement should have put the dispute to rest before it reached the courts.

Protecting ownership of agisted stock

When the Personal Property Securities Act (PPSA) commenced in 2012, it introduced a new risk for the owners of stock on agistment: the potential loss of ownership of those stock if the landowner goes into bankruptcy, liquidation, administration or the like.

  • PPSA requires agistment arrangements to be documented and registered in order to protect the stockowner’s ownership of the livestock.
  • Registration should be completed no later than 15 business days after the livestock has been delivered to the landowner’s property or the agistment agreement has been signed

Registration is undoubtedly an additional administrative burden and the risks of not registering are still being ignored by many stockowners. However, with good advice and assistance, registration is a quick and inexpensive process.

Unpaid agistment fees

  • No automatic right to refuse to redeliver stock until agistment fees are paid, or to sell stock to cover unpaid fees.

Unwanted stock

  • A related problem occurs where stock are left on agistment beyond the agreed period, usually in circumstances where there are unpaid agistment fees, or after earlier termination of the agistment agreement because of unpaid fees.
2015 - Australia - Thynne + Macartney
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