WA Graziers Warned Over Lupinosis

AUSTRALIA - Farmers grazing sheep on lupin stubbles in Western Australia have been advised to be on the lookout for lupinosis.
calendar icon 12 March 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

Western Australia's Department of Agriculture and Food principal veterinary toxicologist Jeremy Allen said at least five cases of lupinosis had been referred to the department’s Animal Health Laboratories during the past fortnight.

“Some cases have been particularly severe,” Dr Allen said.

“In one case 90 head in a flock of 300 mature Merino ewes died and in another 50 Merino hoggets died over a week. In both of these cases the liver damage was severe so more deaths are expected.”

Dr Allen said that Phomopsis-resistant lupins were not completely immune to infection by the fungus that causes lupinosis.

”Phomopsis-resistant lupins will usually have a small degree of infection by the fungus,” he said.

“In damp, mild suitable conditions this small amount of fungus can produce sufficient toxin to cause lupinosis and death in sheep grazing the stubble.”

The department warned lupin stubbles that were now toxic were likely to remain toxic until the end of autumn.

Dr Allen urged farmers to monitor their sheep for the signs of lupinosis, especially if seed levels on the ground fall to less than 50 kilograms per hectare.

“Sheep affected by lupinosis will be found in the tail of the flock. They will be weak and lethargic, have lost condition and may show yellowing in the white of their eyes,” he said.

“If signs of lupinosis are detected early and the flock removed promptly, sheep deaths can be prevented.”

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