Call for vigilance as rain sows threat of toxic weeds & worms
Sheep producers whose properties received recent rainfall have been urged to take action to protect the productivity and profitability of their flock by monitoring livestock for signs of toxic weeds and scour worms.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has received reports of the weed, lesser loosestrife, and livestock deaths from annual ryegrass toxicity in the agricultural region.
DPRID veterinarian Danny Roberts said he encouraged producers to take preventative measures and watch paddocks for weed outbreaks and symptoms of livestock poisoning.
“It is important for producers to inspect paddocks for weeds prior to introducing livestock, as well as nearby bush and scrub areas, which provide a microclimate for toxic weeds,” he said. “In particular, lesser loosestrife weed, also known as Hyssop loosestrife, can be widespread in the agricultural region and cause liver and kidney damage to livestock.
“Watch for signs of depression, lethargy, weight loss, sensitivity to sunlight and, in severe cases, mortalities.”
Other toxic plants that could be a risk to livestock include caltrop, heliotrope, mintweed or goose foot, crown-beard, slender ice plant and native gastrolobium species.
Livestock affected by toxic plants should be moved from the suspect paddock immediately and provided with access to shade, fresh water and good quality hay.
Dr Roberts said producers needed to be vigilant, as some toxins in weeds such as heliotrope, were cumulative, while others only become toxic in certain conditions.
The rain has also increased the risk of Barber’s pole, brown stomach and black worms, which could become a problem for weaners and hoggets over summer.
Producers should call their local vet or department vet officer to investigate when livestock are sick or contact the Pest and Disease Information Service on 9368 3080 or email@example.com.
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