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Other grazing and stock management options

There are other grazing and stock management options besides grazing on your own land. Some common strategies are listed below.

Agisting livestock

Agisting livestock involves placing animals on another person's property for an agreed period of time. In most cases a monthly or annual fee applies, depending on stock numbers or total grazing area.

Agistment is a useful strategy during drought as livestock can be retained and a breeding line preserved. Your property can be spelled, allowing time for pasture to respond after the dry season. Ideally the agistment property offers quality pasture without the need for expensive supplementary feeding.

Before agisting livestock

Before deciding on an adjistment property for your livestock, you should confirm the details of the arrangement.

Inspect the property

Consider the current feed supply and how long it will last.

Inspect fencing, holding and grazing paddocks, water supply and overall terrain and conditions.

Check for weeds, potential diseases and parasites, such as lice or cattle ticks, and always take measures to prevent any of these problems being introduced to your own property once the stock return from agistment.

Negotiate an agistment agreement

Discuss and agree on conditions of the agistment, such as the use of any stock-handling facilities, and the responsibilities of both parties. We strongly recommend a written agreement to help avoid disputes or misunderstandings.

Agree on fees

Fees are generally determined by the quality of agistment facilities, season, stock numbers, duration and special requirements such as supplementary feeding and supervision. Agree on a payment system and include this in the written agreement.

Consider transport arrangements

The agistment property should be as close as possible to your property to reduce transport costs and the risk of animals becoming fatigued in transit, especially those in poor condition. A closer agistment property also makes supervision easier and allows animals to quickly adapt because there is no major change in their environment.

Check there are no animal movement restrictions in place before transporting. Where stock is moved interstate, a veterinary certificate may be required for the state of destination.

Consider supervision

Stock theft is a common problem with agistment. Ensure there is adequate supervision and good fencing. It is best to only agist livestock that are branded for legal identification.

Arrange insurance

Consult your legal adviser to make sure that the agistment agreement addresses all insurance considerations. Make sure that the agistment property owner has adequate occupier's liability insurance cover.

Leasing grazing land

Leasing grazing land is an alternative to buying it. A formal lease agreement sets out the responsibilities of both parties, as well as terms, conditions and payment.We strongly advise you to speak to a legal adviser before entering into any lease agreement, even an informal one.

All subleases of leasehold land must be registered under the requirements of the Land Act. All leases of freehold land for more than 3 years must also be registered. Stamp duty must be paid on all leases.

Before signing a lease on grazing land

  • Inspect the property for pasture quality, fencing and improvements
  • Talk to locals about the area or property
  • Ask for production and financial records for the property
  • Know what you want included in a lease agreement and get professional legal advice to prepare the terms of the lease. This will help to manage risks such as the lessor not meeting responsibilities.

Details of a lease agreement for grazing land

The lease agreement should include:

  • the total area to be leased
  • the rent payable (this is generally a fixed fee)
  • the length of the lease
  • the permitted use of the land
  • the maximum number and type of livestock
  • any right of access to be reserved to the lessor (property owner)
  • any maintenance to be conducted by the lessee (the person taking the lease).

Where a property to be leased is state land, ministerial consent is needed for a sublease, and the lessee is bound by the conditions of the lease set by the Queensland Government.

Other stock management options

Feedlotting

Feedlotting is a production system where animals are intensively housed and fed in pens or sheds to quickly produce high-quality meat for consumption.

Supplementary feeding

Supplementary feeding is often used in conjunction with grazing pasture to overcome nutritional deficiencies that affect production. It involves supplementing the animal's diet by feeding appropriate minerals, vitamins and trace elements.

Selling livestock

You can sell livestock via contract, sales yard or online auctions, producer alliances, or direct sale to abattoirs. The least productive animals should be sold first. If you sell livestock in the early stages of a drought you can also reduce the grazing pressure on your land and future costs.

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