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Biosecurity and things you find in fodder

Nigel Brown, Northern Tablelands Local Land Services District Vet

If you are buying fodder from outside your own part of the country - beware of things in it that are not edible livestock feed.

Weeds like Parthenium and Black Knapweed are ‘prohibited matter’ in NSW and will cause significant problems if they get established on the Northern Tablelands. Seeds can be eaten, survive digestion in the bellies of cattle and sheep and then pass out in faeces onto the ground.

When the rain comes and the ground warms up they could germinate and grow into a crop you don’t want.

Beware of the various insect pests that get transported in soil, turf, potted plants, baled hay or straw, mulch and manure.

A local producer recently sourced some hay from Queensland at a very competitive rate and wanted to order it for himself and others in the area. Fortunately he contacted me because the property was in the Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) Control Zone. That means the hay has to have a health certificate issued by a Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) inspector before it enters NSW. Inspection also covers Parthenium weed.

Another producer notified us of cattle deaths on his property after feeding the stock with hay from South Australia. He then found the bones of a dead lamb in the bottom of the hay rack. These hidden contaminants can cause very serious diseases that can have wide-spread and long-lasting consequences right across the industry.

It is everyone’s responsibility to keep an eye on what’s coming onto our farms so we can keep these biosecurity risks out. These producers did the right thing by contacting Local Land Services.

Contact Northern Tablelands Local Land Services for biosecurity advice:

  • before you buy unusual feeds from unusual places
  • if you find something unusual in bought fodder
  • if you identify unusual livestock disease

If you suspect something serious you can call the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888 or the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881. For all other biosecurity concerns you can call the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline on 1800 680 244. These emergency contact numbers are manned 24 hours a day every day of the year.

Media contact: Annabelle Monie, Communications Officer – 0429 626 326