Cattle deaths attributed to feed

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By Jeremy Sollars

Biosecurity Queensland is urging livestock owners to be cautious when sourcing fodder supplies after the deaths of 14 cattle on a property at Eukey south of Stanthorpe last week.

The deaths were initially suspected to have been from anthrax but the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) promptly ruled this out, allaying local and broader fears in the livestock industry.

Last Thursday 14 February DAF said Biosecurity Queensland was “working with a producer and private veterinarian to assist in the management of a disease investigation on a property in the Stanthorpe district”.

This week a Biosecurity Queensland spokesman told the Free Times the deaths were attributable to feed consumed by the cattle in question.

“As drought conditions persist in much of southern Queensland and large areas of New South Wales and Victoria, hay is increasingly being made from failed grain crops and drought affected forage crops,” the spokesman said.

“In hot, dry conditions, crops that would normally provide a valuable source of feed can accumulate high levels of prussic acid and nitrates.

“Even after being cut and made into hay, the levels of these two naturally-occurring chemicals can still be high and toxic to stock, as was the case in this recent Stanthorpe incident.

“Always ask your vendor if they have tested hay, and always use a commodity vendor declaration.”

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