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Warning For Central Coast Cattle Owners

CENTRAL Coast cattle owners are being urged to check kikuyu dominant paddocks following reports of poisoning cases on two properties in the region.

Greater Sydney Local Land Services District Veterinarian Lisa Goodchild said multiple cattle had died from kikuyu poisoning in the Central Mangrove and Yarramalong Valley regions in the past few weeks.

“Poising can occur in livestock when they are placed onto kikuyu dominant pasture during certain environmental conditions. Deaths and outbreaks tend to occur in summer and/or autumn after a period of drought followed by good rainfall that causes the kikuyu grass to grow rapidly,” Ms Goodchild said.

“Stock placed onto these pastures within two to three weeks of rainfall or paddocks left ungrazed for long periods present the greatest risk of poisoning.”

Ms Goodchild said kikuyu poisoning damaged the stomachs of cattle, resulting in a situation where fluid accumulates in the rumen, but can't be absorbed into the blood stream.

“Impacted cattle become severely dehydrated, but can't drink anymore because their rumen is already full of fluid. As a result, affected cattle drool and stand at troughs and dams trying to drink without success,” she said.

Ms Goodchild said kikuyu should be grazed to maximise leaf and minimise stem by hard grazing to 5cm in height. If pasture height exceeds 15cm, slash to 5cm to remove stem and rank growth and to maintain quality. Optimum quality coincides with the 4-5 leaf stage of growth.

Signs and symptoms of kikuyu poisoning include drooling, abdominal pain, distended rumen, smelly green diarrhoea, lack of coordination, staggering, high stepping gait, aimless wandering, lying down and reluctance to move.

“I would urge livestock owners witnessing any of these symptoms in their animals to contact our office immediately,” Ms Goodchild said.

Further information Kikuyu management can be found via the NSW DPI website or contact Greater Sydney Local Land Services on 4727 2100.


Media contact: Nikki McGrath, Greater Sydney Local Land Services, 02 4724 2138