News

Livestock losses on Kangaroo Island continue to rise

Friday 17 January 2020

As Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) start to complete their initial assessments on Kangaroo Island more than 43,000 livestock registered with the department have been lost in the bushfires on Kangaroo Island.


State Controller for Agriculture and Animal Services, Mehdi Doroudi said the stock had either been destroyed by fire or euthanised following the fires on the island.

"While this has been largely sheep, losses have also included cattle and horses," he said.

"Since the first fires ignited on Kangaroo Island on 20 December, PIRSA staff have been undertaking agricultural impact assessments on the island, contacting more than 200 livestock property owners. Vet teams have also been on hand, not only assisting with livestock assessments but also initial treatment and disposal advice to producers and animal owners and assisting with humane euthanisation when required."

Professor Doroudi said that while initial livestock assessments have been completed, PIRSA was still liaising with other impacted primary industries on Kangaroo Island including apiary, horticulture, viticulture, forestry, aquaculture and fisheries as well as boutique local producers.

"This will assist PIRSA in understanding the needs of producers and how we can enhance the recovery in a way that will provide the most meaningful support," he said.

"We are also continuing to work with other partners such as SAVEM and RSPCA as part of the wildlife assessment operations and Livestock SA, who are co-ordinating the transportation and dispersal of hay to the Island, in liaison with the Australian Defence Force. Fodder supplies have arrived on the island and will continue to be brought in.

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

"Farmers needing assistance with the disposal and burial of livestock, covering existing burial pits or other tasks requiring heavy equipment are requied to call the PIRSA bushfire hotline – 1800 255 556 – and we will coordinate with the Australian Defence Force to perform this work."

As the recovery process ramps up, Professor Doroudi reminded volunteers and visitors travelling to Kangaroo Island to ensure vehicles and equipment are clean to safeguard the island's unique farm environment and wildlife from introduced weeds, pests and diseases.

"I'm sure people would not want to hamper the recovery efforts for our primary producers on Kangaroo Island by inadvertently not complying with the island's biosecurity regulations," he said.

Bee products (including honey and wax), beehives, bees, beehive material and equipment must not be brought to the Island in order 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) on 0477 055 233.

Other bushfire-related information for primary producers and animal owners, including information on rebate grants aimed at assisting producers with the recovery process and getting back business, is also available at www.pir.sa.gov.au/bushfires

Total confirmed losses as at Friday, 17 January 2020

As at Friday, 17 January 2020, almost 50,000 stock have been confirmed lost as a result of the fires across the state.

Kangaroo Island

Ravine and Duncan

208 livestock properties affected by the Ravine and Duncan fires. With initial assessments completed, 43,938 livestock registered with PIRSA have been destroyed by fire or euthanised.

  • Cattle - 1,152
  • Horses - 6
  • Other - 52
  • Sheep - 42,727
  • Apiary - a total of 978 hives reported destroyed.
  • Viticulture - 11 ha impacted
  • Horticulture (potatoes) - 3 ha with 140 tonne in storage affected.

Menzies

Menzies – PIRSA has contacted all 8 registered properties with minimal stock losses reported.

Adelaide Hills

Cudlee Creek

All 543 properties affected by the Cudlee Creek (and Kersbrook) 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 verified. To date 3,772 have perished in these fires.

  • 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. 151 ha of pine and blue gum plantations have been burnt.

Kersbrook

18 hectares burnt. No livestock losses.

South East

Keilira and Coonalpyn

All 20 properties affected by the Keilira fire, who have stock registered with PIRSA have been contacted. Verified livestock losses are at 2,249 head of livestock (mainly sheep) have been confirmed lost.

  • Alpacas - 200
  • Horses - 3
  • Cattle - 297
  • Other - 11
  • Poultry - 49
  • Sheep - 1,689

Approximately 6,300 ha has been burnt in the Coonalpyn fire and total of 7 registered livestock properties have been contacted by PIRSA with no stock losses reported.

It is estimated that 606 hives have been burnt in the South East, affecting 5 apiarists.

Yorketown

There were 29 livestock producers in the fire scar. 534 livestock were lost. 1,563 ha of crops was burnt.

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