Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Series 4


Annual ryegrass toxicity, Sheep, Disease control, Anguina agrostis

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In 982-83, annual ryegrass tocicity (ARGT) was estimated to have cost Western Australian sheep farmers between $7 and $8 million in total economic losses.

The disease can severely disrupt farming operations. Sheep must be checked daily and if affected moved to a 'safe' paddock. The availability of paddock feed is reduced, as is stock carrying capacity. Worry about the possibility of dramatic stock losses, and uncertainty about what decisions to make, are all stressful.

Stock losses from ARGT can be minimised by the use of selective herbicides to control ryegrass in pastures and crops. This breaks the disease cycle - the nematode's life cycle - by substantially reducing gall formation and the amount of ryegrass present. Nematode reproduction must be controlled for at least two season to achieve the break.