Objective Investigate the extent of use of dual-purpose wheat for grazing by late-pregnant and lambing ewes in southern New South Wales (NSW) and the impact of this practice on ewe health.Methods A questionnaire was mailed to sheep producers in the mixed-farming districts of the Hume Livestock Health and Pest Authority area in NSW seeking information on whether the manager had grazed late-pregnant or lambing ewes on dual-purpose wheat during the period 2005'10. Information collected included general farm operation details as well as producer experiences specific to grazing reproducing ewes on wheat, including causes and extent of disease and producer supplementation practices. Results Of the 202 respondents to the survey, 43% identified that they had grazed late-pregnant and/or lambing ewes on dual-purpose wheat during the period 2005-2010. Seventy-one producers had grazed reproducing ewes on wheat in 2010, and reported a mean disease incidence of 2.6% (range 0.0'21.3%). Dystocia, pregnancy toxaemia, foot abscess and grass tetany were the most commonly reported diseases in ewes grazing wheat in 2010. The majority of producers (92%) supplied supplement to ewes grazing wheat in 2010, including mineral supplements (85%), roughage (58%) and grain (18%). Thirty percent of producers who grazed ewes on wheat between 2005'09 experienced higher than normal rates of ewe health problems, with producers reporting a mean of 7.9% ewes in these flocks with health problems. Conclusion Metabolic diseases such as pregnancy toxaemia, hypocalcaemia and grass tetany appear to be important diseases of reproducing ewes grazing wheat pasture.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Australian Veterinary Journal|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2013|