News

Livestock losses from Kangaroo Island fires

Tuesday 7 January 2020

While assessment teams from Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) continue to work with producers affected by the devastating Ravine fire on Kangaroo Island, it is estimated the stock losses will be in the tens of thousands.


While assessment teams from Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) continue to work with producers affected by the devastating Ravine fire on Kangaroo Island, it is estimated the stock losses will be in the tens of thousands.

PIRSA is working hard to contact producers to quantify the extent of their losses from the Ravine bushfire and has teams of vets on the ground on Kangaroo Island that can assist with livestock assessment.

PIRSA crews have been working with the local veterinary clinic providing immediate assessment and advice to producers and animal owners on such issues as:

  • Inspection and assessment of injured livestock and their welfare
  • Treatment of surviving animals
  • Humane destruction to relieve suffering
  • Distribution of Environment Protection Authority guidelines on livestock disposal
  • Access to other relief services such as Livestock SA who are assisting affected producers with fodder supply relief.

116 livestock producers are registered with PIRSA within the current Ravine Fire scar.

Assessment of losses for other agricultural industries, including bees, potatoes, aquaculture and other local produce, is also underway.

State Controller for Agriculture and Animal Services Mehdi Doroudi said it was premature to have firm numbers of stock lost.

"At this stage, it is too early to know the extent of the stock losses but we know it will be in the tens of thousands – significantly higher than other fires recently experienced across the state," Prof Doroudi said.

"The properties we are assessing are larger than the ones we assessed for the Cudlee Creek bushfire, with the average size of sheep flocks being around 2,500 and some being at least twice the size of this. The average cattle herds are just under 200 head.

PIRSA officers are also continuing to work with teams from SAVEM as part of the wildlife assessment operations.


"Contact with producers on the Island has been difficult due to the significant power outages being experienced," he said.

"We remind livestock owners if they require assistance with assessment of burnt livestock to call our hotline – 1800 255 556.

"Other impacted primary producers are also being encouraged to call the hotline to report agricultural losses on their properties.

"Livestock producers and owners requiring assistance with fodder supply, and landowners wishing to donate emergency fodder, are advised to contact Livestock SA on 8297 2299."

Livestock SA have opened a depot at Cape Jervis for fodder donations and deliveries, which will also be a staging point for delivery to affected properties on the island.

PIRSA reminds any volunteers travelling to Kangaroo Island to make sure vehicles and equipment are clean. This will protect the unique farming and wildlife on the island from weeds, pests and diseases.

"Kangaroo Island's biosecurity status needs to be front of mind for everyone involved in the emergency response," he said.

Bees, bee handling equipment and honey products must not be brought to the Island, to protect the unique Ligurian bee from disease. Potatoes are also prohibited to protect the Island's valuable seed potato industry.

Apiarists concerned about disposal, hive recovery or product contamination are encouraged to ring the PIRSA Apiaries Unit on 0408 812 698.

For assistance with injured and stray wildlife and companion animals please call SAVEM (South Australian Veterinary Emergency Management) – 0477 055 233.

For information visit pir.sa.gov.au/bushfires

TOTAL CONFIRMED LOSSES FROM FIRES ACROSS THE STATE AS OF 7 JANUARY 2020:

Kangaroo Island

Ravine - 116 properties affected by the Ravine fire who have stock registered with PIRSA have been contacted by officers. To date, tens of thousands of sheep and hundreds of cattle are estimated to have been lost. There are unconfirmed reports that 1,000 bee hives have been destroyed to date.

Duncan – PIRSA has contacted all 13 registered properties within the Duncan fire ground with minimal stock losses reported.

Menzies – PIRSA has contacted all eight registered properties with minimal stock losses reported.

Cudlee Creek

All 537 properties affected by the Cudlee Creek fire, who have stock registered with PIRSA

have been contacted by officers. Follow up work is still continuing and reports of livestock, horticulture, viticulture and other relevant horticultural losses are still being documented. To date more than 3,700 stock are recorded as having died.

  • Alpacas – 23
  • Cattle – 292
  • Horses – 3
  • Other - 11
  • Poultry – 30
  • Sheep – 3,345

While information is still being received from affected vineyards, approximately 63 vineyards covering 1,100 hectares (30% of the Adelaide Hills wine region) are located within the Cudlee Creek fire ground with varying degrees of damage. Damage assessment is still underway for the horticultural industry with 12 horticultural properties located within the Cudlee Creek fire area. So far at least six horticultural businesses (apple, cherry and hazelnut orchards) are known to have received varying levels of damage. Approximately eight beekeepers have been impacted in this area with a reported 414 hives burnt.

Keilira

It is anticipated that more than 23,000 ha has been burnt as a result of this fire with 20 registered properties so far impacted. Livestock losses are still being verified but currently 2,086 head of livestock (mainly sheep) have been confirmed lost. PIRSA officers have been visiting impacted properties in the area.

  • Alpacas – 200
  • Cattle – 237
  • Sheep – 1,649

Four apiarists are known to have been impacted with 310 hives destroyed.

Coonalpyn
A total of seven registered livestock properties have been contacted by PIRSA with no stock losses reported, however it is estimated that 200 hives have been burnt in this area, affecting 8 apiarists.

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