The re­sults

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Feature - Source:

Us­ing the on-farm data in the pro­ject, sci­en­tists were able to show the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the lev­els of fungi, spores, lar­vae etc, and the poor live weights of stock.


when the NIV and DON lev­els in pas­ture are at 0.8 mg/kg DM, it is likely that the toxic re­sult caused (tri­chothecenes) will be re­duc­ing live weight gain (LWG) by 40g per day in lambs and 200g per day in cat­tle. Urine patches may have very high lev­els of fungi (200 times higher than in­ter-urine patches), al­though this hy­poth­e­sis re­quires fur­ther re­search.


318 pas­ture sam­ples were col­lected as part of the pro­ject and around 70% of sam­ples were shown to have fungi that pro­duce tox­ins. How­ever, the pres­ence of toxic fungi does not mean that tox­ins are be­ing pro­duced, as was shown in fur­ther tests where fungi were present and grow­ing, but no tox­ins could be de­tected. Trace el­e­ments:

in sheep, pre­dict­ing live weight gain sup­pres­sion is pos­si­ble us­ing blood tests for se­le­nium and cobalt but not for cop­per. This is not pos­si­ble in cat­tle.

The de­gree of live weight gain sup­pres­sion was not able to be ac­cu­rately linked with: • the level of eggs in a FEC, al­though live weight gain will start to be sup­pressed if above 500 eggs per gram (epg) in lambs and 300epg in young bulls; • the level of cop­per in a liver test. The good news is that the big­gest causes of ill-thrift (par­a­sitism and pas­ture qual­ity) can be re­duced by man­age­ment (eg, pro­vid­ing stock with higher qual­ity pas­ture, man­age­ment to re­duce lar­val con­tam­i­na­tion of pas­tures, worm con­trol prod­ucts). It is best that farm­ers elim­i­nate th­ese causes first, be­fore tack­ling the more com­plex pas­ture fungi is­sues.

If you sus­pect your stock have is­sues, talk to your vet and work with them to get more in­for­ma­tion through test­ing.

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