Producers on look out for three day sickness

New season challenges as cattle producers keep an eye out for three day sickness

Commercial
Pasture rebound on the North Coast has been remarkable, like here near Buccarumbi on the Clarence, but regenerating growth has brought with it new challenges.

Pasture rebound on the North Coast has been remarkable, like here near Buccarumbi on the Clarence, but regenerating growth has brought with it new challenges.

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North Coast livestock producers on the lookout for insect problems and toxic plants as season makes a turn.

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With reports of three day sickness in the Wide Bay/ Burnett region of Queensland it may be just a matter of time before an expected outbreak occurs on the NSW North Coast.

Local Land Services veterinarian Liz Boland, based at Casino, said there had been anecdotal evidence of three day sickness in cattle, mainly yearlings and two year olds above 300 kilograms.

"We have been testing a lot of animals but so far there has not been a result indicating three-day sickness."

Dr Bolin said experts expected a bad season for the disease, not usually fatal, and in the past the reported outbreaks tended to travel from north to south.

The new season has brought other challenges. While there have been no reports of metabolic imbalance, as a result of grazing new growth without appropriate mineral lick, Dr Bolin did say there was a rise in plant toxicity, with new leaves of red lantana causing apparent sunburn in affected cattle, or photosensitisation.

There have been odd reports of Kikuyu poisoning in the Hunter valley, and on the Dorrigo plateau. Paspalem can host an ergot that will give cattle the staggers, but so far there have been no reports of that form of toxicity.

Buffalo fly is an issue, she said, with the threat of chemical resistance a real concern. Treatment should be applied when flies on one side of an animal number more than 100.

"It is important to rotate chemicals," she said. "Ear tag treatments have shown resistance fairly quickly when only one chemical is used.

"Don't use out of date chemical as this increases the risk of organo phosphate poisoning."

The bacterial form of pinkeye, most notable in wet conditions, can be reduced by controlling the number of flies, as these spread the problem. Dr Bolin said treatment involved intra ocular antibiotics and they should consult their veterinarian, or a Local Land Services District Veterinarian on 1300 795 299.

"Every breed can get pinkeye," she said. "I've seen it in blacks and I've seen it in whites."

New grass in previously depleted paddocks is throwing up different challenges.

"I never thought it could rain grass, but it did," said Fred Morgan, Carnham above Grafton, who sacrificed most of his country to bushfire last year, including three sets of yards, a bridge and many kilometres of fencing. "In my 81 years I have never seen the country respond as quickly."

Mineral block has proven essential, with some cattle even taking to licking the roadside for missing elements. The smart graziers are feeding out hay to provide fibre where new, bright green grass can't.

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