Farm Table says:
What is the problem?
Grass seed contamination of sheep carcasses and skins results in significant losses across the Australian lamb and mutton value chains.
Seven grass species found across Victoria and New South Wales are known to significantly impact carcass quality, with barley grass and brome grass as key perpetrators
What did the research involve?
To evaluate current trends associated with carcass weed seed contamination, extensive abattoir data sets (2009–2014) provided by Animal Health Australia (AHA) were analysed by state and biogeographic region.
What were the key findings?
Significant differences in regional infestation were noted
• reduced contamination observed in Tasmania and VIC in contrast to other states.
• No significant differences were observed in contamination between NSW and QLD
• Highest contamination occurred throughout the mixed cropping and pastoral zones
• with notable events also in the high rainfall zone.
• Sex and age of animal were identified to have impacted seed contamination.
These findings have implications for integrated weed management (IWM) strategies for weed species of importance to the livestock production chain.
Focused chemical and rotational strategies to manage these weeds could be employed in areas of high weed infestation to result in reduced infestation to carcasses over time.
Future research into the development of focused IWM strategies will be essential for regional control of these weeds and their biotypes, permitting a more targeted approach in reducing seed contamination in Australia.