Stock Management Areas

Appropriate management of livestock during extreme climate conditions is critical to the resilience capacity of soils, vegetation, and farming enterprises. These Stock Management Area (SMA) demonstrations focused on design, nutrition and animal management to optimise animal reproduction and health, whilst reducing groundcover loss.
Murray Local Land Services representatives: Garry Armstrong, Rebecca Stace and Kimberley Beer, conducted workshops on design, construction, regulations and animal management (download the guide below). Each workshop was followed by a Q&A session and SMA site walk.
Host farmers discussed how their SMA contributes to their farming practises, the construction, pros, cons and possible ideas for improvement.
Round 1 - June 2023

Lindifferon & Bunnaloo

Host farmers, Andrew Hermiston (sheep) and Doug Scott (sheep).
Sma Pie Chart Q9

Positive workshop survey results

Farmers represented more than 90% of attendees, 87% said the activity was relevant in helping them prepare for or respond to future drought and a whopping 91% said that as a result of this activity they are more likely to make a practise change or consider doing so.

Round 2 - November 2023

Bullatale & Conargo

Host farmers, Roger Reid (cattle) and Colin Bull (sheep).
Confinement feeding in Stock Management Areas (SMA) is a proactive management strategy that can be incorporated into on-farm drought management programs. When feed availability and ground cover reduces livestock are confined to a smaller area of the property which helps maintain livestock production, increases productivity and importantly maintains ground cover across other parts of the property. Traditionally during drought producers have let livestock roam large areas and fed them in existing large paddocks.
A guide to confinement feeding sheep and cattle in New South Wales
This publication was developed by Central Tablelands Local Land Services and aims to provide producers with best practise management protocols and recommendations when confinement feeding stock on farm.
Direct and indirect benefits of confinement feeding
- Allows producers to maintain a productive flock or herd during drought enabling enterprises to still generate cash flow and recover more quickly after drought.
- Reducing grazing pressure by confining livestock to a smaller portion of the property, allows for the maintenance of ground cover and the associated benefit of reduced erosion.
- Reduces pasture damage/loss due to overgrazing and the significant costs involved in pasture re-establishment
- Increases productivity, confinement feeding of livestock reduces daily energy requirements by 10-15% as animals are not walking around larger paddocks looking for feed.
- Reduces the spread of introduced weed seeds in purchased grain or fodder
- Reduces labor and running costs (for example less time travelling when feeding in paddocks).
Other Benefits
The cost of establishing and maintaining confinement feeding areas can also be offset by other uses for these facilities that improve overall farm management including:

- Prior to or following a seasonal break to allow pasture to establish
- When there are potential issues with pastures being toxic at different growth stages
- For yard weaning and as a quarantine area
- To control livestock following a fire or other emergency and as holding areas when shearing or crutching, weighing stock or prior to transport
- As a hospital including sick or recovery pens
Workshops and Demonstration Site Visits
As a part of the Australian Government's Future Drought Fund - Save our Soil Initiative, and led by Local Land Services, Irrigation Farmers Network, is collaborating with farming systems groups Holbrook Landcare, Farmlink Research, Central West Farming Systems, Southern Growers and Riverine Plains to deliver workshops and demonstration site visits in 2023 - 2024
Daff Fdf Inline Black

This project received funding from the Australian Goverenment’s Future Drought Fund