In this file:


·         Australian ag hit hard by bushfires

·         $2 billion national bushfire recovery fund announced

·         More than 100,000 sheep and cattle killed in bushfires need to be buried in mass graves NOW amid fears of a biosecurity emergency

·         Australian fires could mean milk shortages

·         Kangaroo Island bushfires may have destroyed a quarter of island's Ligurian beehives




Australian ag hit hard by bushfires

Millions of sheep and cattle could be affected by wildfires ravaging southern Australia.


Krissa Welshans, BEEF Magazine 

Jan 06, 2020


Livestock losses across South Australia are in the thousands, and the figure is growing due to smoke and heat as a bushfire crisis deepens, Australia’s Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie said Friday. However, she urged regional communities to continue to prioritize personal safety, even as concern for livestock grows.


"The devastating loss of life to date underscores a critical need for cooperation and support in regional and urban communities alike,” McKenzie said. To date, the bushfires have resulted in at least 19 human fatalities, with dozens of others missing.


According to the New South Wales (NSW) Rural Fire Service, at midnight on Thursday, 137 fires were burning across NSW, with more than 60 yet to be contained.


“Over 2,000 firefighters are continuing to work hard throughout this evening in preparation for severe and extreme fire danger predicted for many parts of the state today,” the agency tweeted.


The Victorian government declared a state of emergency Jan. 2 as fires were expected to continue to ravage the region.


Mecardo agricultural analyst Matt Ballarat reported Jan. 3 that approximately 8.6 million head of sheep (12% of the flock) and 2.3 million head of cattle (9% of the herd) could be affected by the fires (Figure 1).


“Not all livestock in areas will be impacted but gives an idea of total numbers in these zones,” he said.


It is currently estimated that nearly 12.5 million acres of land have burned in Australia.


Property damage across the country is widespread...


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$2 billion national bushfire recovery fund announced


Beef Central (Australia) 

January 6, 2020


The Federal Government will establish a new agency with an initial $2 billion for a national bushfire recovery fund to coordinate a national response to rebuild communities and livelihoods after the devastating fire-front has passed.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the National Bushfire Recovery Agency would be funded with an initial $2 billion to ensure the families, farmers and business owners hit by these unprecedented bushfires would get the support they needed as they recover.


“It’s a long road ahead and we will be with these communities every step of the way as they rebuild,” the Prime Minister said.


“While the immediate focus for our emergency services and the Australian Defence Force is keeping people safe and defending against the fires hitting so many areas, we also need to be ready to hit the ground in communities where the fire-front has passed to help them rebuild.


“The Agency will ensure the work of state and territory governments is being supported and act as a ‘one stop shop’ central team to coordinate the response. We will do whatever it takes.”


Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the initial $2 billion investment for the Agency and its recovery work would be on top of the existing disaster recovery payments and allowances which have so far seen more than $100 million worth of assistance flowing through to families, small businesses and farmers.


“An unprecedented joint effort with the states, territories and local government will be required to assist with the recovery, rebuilding and future resilience of these communities,” the Treasurer said.


“Our initial $2 billion investment help to get communities back on their feet by assisting with restocking and replenishing, rebuilding roads and telecommunications infrastructure, mental health support, attracting tourists back to the regions and helping restore the local environment and impacted wildlife.”


The Agency will be led by Andrew Colvin APM AOM and will be modelled off the North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency established following the 2019 North Queensland floods, as well as the experience of the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority created after the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.


The Agency’s key tasks include:





More than 100,000 sheep and cattle killed in bushfires need to be buried in mass graves NOW amid fears of a biosecurity emergency


·         Mass graves will be dug by army reservists for thousands of animals killed in fires

·         Officials fear biosecurity emergency as animal carcasses litter the country

·         100 vets have been offered to affected states to euthanise injured livestock



By Australian Associated Press

via Daily Mail (UK) - 6 January 2020


Army reservists will dig mass graves for more than 100,000 sheep and cattle killed in the bushfires to stave off a potential biosecurity emergency.


Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud said disposing of dead livestock was an urgent task.


'We will be trying to take pre-emptive steps today with state agencies around making sure the disposal of the livestock is done quickly - there is a biosecurity risk there,' Mr Littleproud said.


'We have to think about our native species that have been decimated by the fires, too, in terms of our recovery.'


Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie has offered 100 vets to bushfire-affected states to assess and euthanise thousands of injured livestock.


Senator McKenzie fears the bushfire crisis could devastate the national herd, with animals dying from heat stress and smoke inhalation.


Defence personnel will be sent into fire grounds once it is safe to dig pits and bury dead stock.


'Bearing in mind, though, it's about getting access to those still live fire grounds,' Senator McKenzie told the ABC. 


'Where it's safe to do so we need to be getting in within a week, ideally, to really be dealing with the carcasses in an appropriate way.'


The National Farmers' Federation estimates thousands of sheep and cattle have been killed in the bushfires.


The livestock toll is expected to climb after fires tore through southern NSW over the weekend, with dozens of dead livestock seen lining the road into Batlow.


Fodder and water is being distributed to surviving livestock herds on blackened paddocks, while fencing and other farm infrastructure is repaired.


Water stocks contaminated by ash are also being investigated.


Senator McKenzie paid tribute to farmers dealing with sick and dying stock while fighting the ongoing fires.


'We're looking at very stretched, superhuman efforts here by our agriculture sector,' she said...


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Australian fires could mean milk shortages


By Nicole Heslip, Brownfield 

January 6, 2020


Bush fires stretching across more than 15 million acres of Australia are threatening the country’s dairy industry.


Two main dairy producing regions in Victoria and New South Wales, which produce about a third of the country’s milk, have been heavily burned.  Fires have damaged both pastures and infrastructure limiting farmers’ ability to milk, transport and process products.


Milk production had been forecast at a 22-year low...





Kangaroo Island bushfires may have destroyed a quarter of island's Ligurian beehives


By Casey Briggs and Eugene Boisvert, ABC News Australia

Jan 6, 2020


About a quarter of Kangaroo Island's beehives may have been lost in bushfires that devastated the western half of the island.


The island is home to the world's purest strain of Ligurian honey bees, which originally came from Italy.


Apiary Alliance SA chairman Danny LeFeuvre said Kangaroo Island was a "bee utopia" because they mostly fed on native flora and were free of most diseases.


He estimated about 1,000 of the island's 4,000 hives were damaged in the fire, which burnt most fiercely on Friday.


South Australia's beekeeping industry has more than 60,000 hives.


"It's not a large proportion of the industry, but it's certainly a vital and very important part of our industry," Mr LeFeuvre said...


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