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Warning against potential grain poisoning during dry weather

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With extremely dry weather predicted to continue throughout the coming weeks, Riverina Livestock Health and Pest Authority have cautioned cattle farmers of the risks of switching from pasture based feed to grain.

A sudden switch from pasture based feed to grain can cause problems associated with digestion including acidosis, or grain poisoning according to Beef Central.

No significant rainfall coupled with extremely dry conditions over the past 12 months many Southern Australian farmers have been said to be considering, or already making the switch to grain according to Colin Peake, Riverina district veterinarian.

“This can be a good option, however producers have to remember that stock not used to grain feed can suffer from grain poisoning if they are not fed correctly,” he said.

Peake recommends gradually decreasing hay and introducing carbohydrate dense grain over a few weeks to allow cattle to adapt to the change in diet, as well as carefully monitoring livestock for signs of poisoning.

Signs of grain poisoning include diarrhoea, depression, reduced appetite, bloated/ painful abdomen and sore feet/lameness. 

The Riverina Livestock Health and Pest Authority have urged cattle owners to reduce or stop feeding grain and seek advice from a vet should these symptoms arise. 

Image courtesy of Brad Smith via Flickr

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