Tackling the ongoing threat of bushfires

The devastating impacts of extreme weather were felt all across Australia during the recent spate of damaging bushfires.

Beyond the tragic human and environmental loss, many of Australia’s industries were also adversely impacted.

Australia’s red meat farmers, along with the broader red meat supply chain, were among those affected, given the nature of the industry, the amount of land involved, and the indiscriminate nature of the bushfire’s path. The industry faces a stark reality as it rebuilds: this isn’t the first Australian bushfire and it certainly won’t be the last.  

To help farmers prepare for similar circumstances in future and ensure the long-term safety of both their livestock and their livelihood, MLA has collected a list of the most important resources for cattle and sheep producers impacted by bushfires. The advice focuses on three stages of bushfire management: prepare, manage, and recover.


Preparing for and managing bushfires

As part of on-farm biosecurity plans, red meat farmers should ensure they have a disaster management plan in place.

This may include:

  • Evacuation plans for people and livestock – including locations of where stock can be moved to in the event of a fire
  • Plans for the purchase and storage of emergency feed
  • Plans for the provision of water if infrastructure is destroyed by fire
  • List of emergency contact details including the fire brigade, local council, state department of primary industry, local vet, emergency animal disease hotline.
  • Proactive management to ensure livestock are effectively identified and that stock transfers, stock registers and livestock vaccinations are up to date.



The immediate aftermath of a bushfire, particularly in the first four weeks, is an important time for producers to assess damage to their property and livestock and, where possible, start to recover their businesses.

Managing livestock after a bushfire can be challenging and stressful. Animals may be dead or injured, access to feed may be reduced, and fences and other infrastructure may be damaged. Integrity Systems Company (ISC) supports producers in meeting the requirements of Australia’s red meat integrity system in the event of a bushfire.


What do importers need to know?

Australia’s comprehensive approach to bushfire preparedness and management ensures adverse impacts are kept to a minimum, and that the industry is able to get back on its feet and continue working with supply chains and customers. Australia’s bushfires can be unpredictable, but our response certainly won’t be.


Article Date: 20th March 2020

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