Location, climate and weed distribution influence sheep carcase damage by weed seed in Australia

Jane Kelly, Jane Quinn, Sharon Nielsen, Paul Weston, John Broster, Panayiotis Loukopoulos, Leslie Weston

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Weed seed contamination of sheep carcasses and pelts is of critical importance in New Zealand and Australia, the two primary exporters of sheep meat to the European Union. Seed contamination frequently increases production costs, hinders livestock welfare and threatens quality of meat products. Hordeum spp. (barley grass) and Bromus spp. (brome grass) are annual Australian weeds that are native to the Mediterranean and specifically associated with seed contamination in sheep. In recent years, the distribution of both species has increased across southern Australia, potentially due to herbicide resistant populations and adaptation to diverse climatic conditions. Recent anecdotal evidence indicates increased weed carcase damage within Australian abattoirs, a trend potentially associated with weed distribution patterns. An understanding of the current prevalence of seed contamination across Australian states and the factors associated with incidence is imperative for effective mitigation and subsequent maintenance of quality standards in sheep meat exports. Analysis of Australian abattoir datasets combined with examination of regional climatic records were undertaken using linear mixed models to evaluate the factors influencing carcase damage across southern Australia. Distribution of carcase contamination and also that of Hordeum spp. and Bromus spp. across Australia were studied utilising spatial methodology. Results indicated seed contamination was significantly associated with state, region, animal age, sex and abattoir. Clear relationships also existed between distribution patterns of carcase contamination and prevalence of Hordeum spp. and Bromus spp. Mean monthly rainfall and elevation were also noted as significant climate factors contributing to contamination. In addition, complex interactions were noted between mean monthly temperature and state and between elevation and date. Results highlight the need for further research regarding integrated management of key annual grass weeds contributing to seed contamination across Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2018
Event2018 European Weed Research Symposium - GR-Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Duration: 17 Jun 201821 Jun 2018
http://www.ewrs2018.org/ (conference website)
http://www.ewrs2018.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/EWRS2018-Book-of-Abstracts_Final.pdf (book of abstracts)


Conference2018 European Weed Research Symposium
Abbreviated titleWeed research
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Location, climate and weed distribution influence sheep carcase damage by weed seed in Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this