Stock containment areas at Woodstock West

Lachlan Ralton is a sheep and cropping farmer at Woodstock West in central Victoria.

Lachlan talks about stock containment areas.

Vision: Aerial view of containment area

Title: Stock containment areas

A stock containment area is a carefully selected fenced section of the property which is set up to hold, feed and water livestock.

Vision: Ground level view of containment area

This is beneficial for maintaining stock condition as well as protecting soil and pasture resources during adverse seasons.

Vision: Stock containment areas

Stock containment areas are vital pieces of infrastructure to manage through dry times but have many other benefits. Agriculture Victoria has guidelines to assist landholders in designing and constructing an efficient stock containment area.

Vision: Ground level view of paddock, silos, road

In 2015 the Victorian Government provided grants for farmers in drought affected areas of the state to construct stock containment areas.

Martin Hamilton —  Land Management Extension Officer — Agriculture Victoria:

'We're concerned that a lot of paddocks are run bare and dry. And farmers are spending a lot of time chasing sheep, looking after sheep, feeding sheep and even carting water in some areas. So this is a really solid way of helping farmers manage their livestock over summer.'

Vision: Martin Hamilton speaking with Lachlan Ralton —  Narrator speaking

Lachlan Ralton is a sheep and cropping farmer at Woodstock West in central Victoria.

Vision: Map of Lachlan's farm location

Lachlan farms in partnership with his brother Chris and his uncle Howard.

Vision: Aerial view of Lachlan's farm

Across the 1500 hectare farm about half is sown to cereal crops each year. And 2,000 ewes are run primarily on Lucerne pasture.

Lachlan Ralton —  Farmer —  Woodstock West:

'I've sort of been thinking about it for the last few years about containment, where we would have it. But we only purchased this property three years ago I think it is now. So we had other sites in mind.'

Vision: Aerial view of containment area

'Some had more trees which would have been in the containment and we weren't sure about doing that as far as looking after the survival of the trees.'

Vision: Lachlan speaking:

'Well the funding, Government funding sort of was a bit of a push along I suppose, although we were thinking about it.'

Vision: Water container

'We got water, underground water, which is up on the hill here behind you, which is pumped two kilometres to get there. So it's not right onsite but we've got that.'

Vision: Lachlan speaking:

'That was put in and I sort of had a lightbulb moment, I'd suppose you'd call it, and said we've got water.'

Vision: Homestead

'The pipe was going in here to the house down the lane. We dug the pipe in and we left risers for the troughs. And then I just started planting.'

Vision: Containment area

'Then mapped out the site and just split it up in accordance with the Government guidelines as far as how it was to be set up.'

Vision: Martin Hamilton speaking:

'As soon as I drove onto this property I noticed the tree line and the shade. I noticed the soil type. And the arrangement of the fencing already in place, I knew it would be a good site to do.'

Vision: Aerial view of containment area

'Look every site is different. And every farmer has to design the yards to suit their needs'.

Vision: Lachlan speaking — sheep:

'We've set up self-feeders which we already owned down on the laneway fence so we don't have to enter the pens.'

Vision: Lachlan speaking:

'We use a Bromar feeder for filling the feeders. They hold roughly a tonne each of oats.'

Vision: Sheep

'We're feeding an oats and lupin mix at the moment for the Merino wethers.'

Vision: Laneway

'So yeah, the laneway is access for the feeding.'

Vision: Lachlan speaking:

'Hay's just put in the pens whether you come in or put it over the fence it's up to the individual.'

Vision: Sheep

'They are quite content. When they first went in they ran around a bit and are pretty, yeah, excited about the —  I suppose excited about the new environment, just to get their head around where they actually are.'

Vision: Lachlan speaking —  aerial view of containment area:

'But once they've got feed, they've got water, they've got shade and hay they soon settle down. Martin was saying over time the hay and whatnot you're feeding, it sort of mixes in and keeps a bit of a pad as well as, yeah, the sheep will pat it up and so far so good. And the drainage I think will be quite good.'

Vision: Lachlan speaking:

'I don't know how wet the laneway is going to get down there. But that was one consideration which, in the literacy I read it was laneways go up the top not down the bottom, and so I was sort of thinking.'

Vision: Aerial view of containment area

'But I just —  the shade, these trees on the northern edge they get —  we've got shade all day for these lambs, and they're often, on a hot day, that's where they are.'

Vision: Lachlan speaking:

'And that was the main consideration, that's why I didn't want the lane up the top.'

Vision: Ground level view of containment area

'I just thought the shade was more important than getting too wet or whatever, it might happen down there.'

Vision: Lachlan speaking —  ground level view of containment area —  Lachlan speaking:

'But just, if you run into a dry time, to be able to lock your sheep up off your paddocks, so you keep your ground cover, and just having grain, hay and good water, you can just watch them so much more than driving all over your countryside trying to —  just the time it takes to feed and whatnot.'

Vision: Aerial view of containment area

'But just overall management, whether dipping or crutching, just having sheep close to your facilities and yards I can see it as a big benefit going forward.'

Vision: Lachlan speaking:

'As far as the containment side of things we have — we'll use this in the drier years and when there's not so much paddock feed around or stubbles around, and I can see it as a big benefit. It might mean we can run more sheep is my plan.'

Vision: Key messages

Stock containment areas — more than a drought measure

Victoria State Government

Speaker: Authorised by Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne

Page last updated: 18 Jan 2021