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Stock losses from Australian bush fires

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The Australian Federal Agriculture Minister, Bridget McKenzie, said they were working with State Governments to understand the level of catastrophe. It is feared that stock losses from the recent Australian bushfires will exceed 100,000, as farmers around the country begin to assess the fires’ impacts to their properties and livestock.

Nine per cent of the national cattle herd and 12 per cent of the national sheep flock live in areas impacted by the fires. Farmers are shooting stock too badly injured by bushfire to survive. The Government has arranged 100 veterinarians to help with livestock assessments. The Federal Government has made 100 veterinarians available to assist in assessing the livestock left standing, in similar situations across the country.

The full extent of the loss won’t be known for months. A map put together by agriculture market analyst company Mecardo found about 8.6 million head of sheep and 2.3 million cattle live in areas impacted by the bushfires across Victoria and New South Wales, making up about 12 per cent of the sheep flock and nine per cent of the national cattle herd.

Senior market analyst Matt Dalgleish said because of the size of the area impacted, it could be months before the exact figures on stock losses were known.

“It’s a far bigger area than what was impacted by the Queensland floods, and that took about 3 months before we knew about the amount of cattle impacted,” he said.

Mr Dalgleish said alongside the initial stock loss there would be issues with feeding animals that survived.

“You’ve got farmers that have been paying a lot of money to bring feed in to try and sustain the animals.

“Now this fire has potentially taken away all that investment they’ve made in trying to keep their flock or herd alive.”

Mr Dalgliesh said Australia was already facing a tight season for cattle and sheep numbers around the country.

Source: ABC News

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