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Sending in-milk cows off the property is a practice where a grazier cares for and milks the cows during floods or drought, while the owner renovates pastures and recovers. This page provides guidelines for both grazing farmers and flood or drought-affected farmers. For the grazing farmers, recommendations include specific handling, health checks, and treatment of the cows. For the affected farmers, guidance is given on managing stock and communicating with the grazier. The page also emphasizes the importance of a written agreement, with links to standard agreements, to ensure clear responsibilities and avoid misunderstandings.
Sending in-milk cows off the property will reduce feed demand for flood or drought-stricken farmers.
In overview, the grazier feeds, milks and generally cares for the cows and keeps the proceeds from the milk. This gives the owner of the stock a chance to clear up and renovate pastures and allows time for the owner and property to recover.
Sometimes farmers offering to graze stock in an emergency are not completely aware of what they are taking on. Likewise, stock owners may have unrealistic expectations of those who are caring for their herd. It is prudent to have a written agreement so that each party is clear on what their responsibilities are, and misunderstandings are avoided.
However, in a flood emergency there may not be enough time to organise a written agreement before the stock arrive, so negotiating it as soon as possible afterwards with the help of Federated Farmers or other appropriate agency is advisable - certainly better than having no formal agreement.
Standard agreements that can be adapted to suit are readily available (see Rural Disaster Response Centre Interim Grazing Agreement for Relocated Livestock)