I think I have finally recovered from my mega road trip which covered over 7,500 km of travel, starting in Adelaide on August 24 and ending in Brisbane last week. Why you may well ask?
Well, for over 10 years we have been working with the Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA) and Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) to assist feedlot managers in best practice management of heat stress in lot-fed cattle. The aim of this trip was to present a series of ‘Managing Summer Heat’ workshops in towns across the nation to develop site-specific Heat Management Plans that covered;
- Preparedness (Pre-Summer activities, understanding your basic risk)
- Daily monitoring (What to monitor and how to define your daily status level)
- Event warnings (How to be informed)
- Mitigation actions (Your actions depending on your daily status)
- Review (How to keep your Heat Management Plan up-to-date)
The workshops focused on understanding the basic heat balance for cattle within a feedlot environment to help focus activities such as;
- daily monitoring activities
- defining a site’s daily status through site specific triggers
- defining appropriate mitigation actions for each status level and
- being proactive in managing summer heat
The importance of a good on-site weather station was another key message. Suppliers Pacific Data Systems, MEA and Environdata had an opportunity to display their cost-effective weather stations to workshop participants.
The workshop numbers were really encouraging and when 90 people turned up at Dalby, causing a slight problem… there isn’t really anywhere in Dalby big enough to cater for such a crowd! For me it was wonderful to talk to the people actually using our Cattle Heat Load Toolbox and the feedback we got along the way was very encouraging.
Thanks to MLA for funding the trip, to Madie and Jeff from ALFA for their great organisation, to fellow presenter Tony Batterham from Quirindi Feedlot Services for his entertaining presentations (“How he managed to put in pictures of the winning Blues state of origin team and still get out alive in Dalby is a mystery to me!”).