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Landholders warned to be on the lookout following recent rain

Western Local Land Services is calling on landholders to be alert to the emergence of grass and plants that have the potential to cause toxicity problems in stock through grazing.

Following recent rain throughout much of the Western region, a good growth of summer feed is beginning to emerge.

While this is largely welcomed by landholders, some species such as Panicum effusum, commonly known as Hairy Panic Grass, Heliotropium europaeum, commonly known as Common Heliotrope, and Tribulus terrestris, commonly known as Cathead, can cause serious illness and in some instances death to sheep that consume it.

Western Local Land Services Biosecurity Officer, Andy McKinnon urged landholders to be cautious when it comes to introducing stock to new paddocks of pasture.

“Two years ago we saw a number of cases of Hairy Panic Grass and Common Helitrope poisoning following late November rain,” Mr McKinnon said.

“There were significant stock losses on some properties with landholders forced to move sheep to unaffected pastures until autumn.”

Landholders should look out for stock showing any of the following symptoms:

  • Hairy Panic Grass: swelling of the head, ears and forelegs and seeking shade. Stock can be assisted by placing them in full shade (shed) and providing them with feed and water until they recover.
  • Common Heliotrope: generally found in stubble paddocks or on sandy red rises. Causes liver damage in sheep which can build up over several years. Remove stock from affected paddocks until heliotrope has died off.
  • Cathead: animals will show signs similar to Hairy Panic Grass. Prefers lighter soils and becomes more toxic under stress.

Landholders that have stock that show any of the above symptoms are encouraged to contact a Western Local Land Services District Veterinarian or Biosecurity Officer.

Our District Veterinarians can be reached on:

  • Charlotte Cavanagh, Bourke, 0429 773 021
  • Hannah Williams, Balranald, 0439 830 280
  • Felicity Wills, Broken Hill, 0409 858 901.

Further information can be found on the NSW DPI website.

Media contact: Charlie Whiteley, Western Local Land Services, 0428 679 974.