Seed contamination in sheep: new investigations into an old problem

Kelly, J.E., Quinn, J.C., Loukopoulos, P., Broster, J.C., Behrendt, K. and Weston, L.A. (2018) Seed contamination in sheep: new investigations into an old problem. Animal Production Science.

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Seed contamination significantly affects production capacity and animal welfare in Australian sheep flocks and causes considerable financial loss to producers and processors across sheepmeat value chains. Seven grass-weed species contribute to seed contamination in Australia, with barley grass (Hordeum spp.) identified as a key perpetrator. Herbicide resistance and variable dormancy emerging in southern Australian barley grass populations are thought to enhance its capacity for successful pasture invasion, further exacerbating the potential for seed contamination in sheep. The present article reviews the current literature regarding the impact and incidence of seed contamination on sheepmeat production, with particular reference to key grass-weed species prevalence across Australia. Data are presented on a recent incidence of carcass contamination across years, where incidence varied between 11% and 80% from 2009 to 2013, contracting to between 2% and 60% during 2014 and 2015. Key areas requiring future research are defined. Understanding the biology of key grass weeds, historical influences and economic consequences associated with seed contamination in sheep may assist in defining future risks to sheep production and improve weed management. Furthermore, examining more recent data describing the current status of seed contamination across Australia and the associations with causal weed species may aid the development of critical weed-management strategies in highly infested regions, subsequently limiting the extent of future seed contamination.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: carcass, grasses, meat processing, sheepmeat, sheep pelts
Divisions: Food, Land and Agribusiness Management
Depositing User: Ms Kath Osborn
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2018 13:15
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2018 13:15

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