26 September 2023

Farmers urged to lead lambs to water

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Recent rain has prompted Agriculture Victoria to issue a reminder to sheep producers about the potential for trace mineral deficiency diseases to effect their lambs.

Senior Veterinary Officer at Agriculture Victoria, Robert Suter said the early season rain that had been welcomed by producers across the State should result in good pasture growth throughout the winter.

“However, the flush of new pasture increases the likelihood of trace mineral deficiency diseases in lambs born in winter and early spring,” Dr Suter said.

“Trace mineral deficiencies can result from ewes grazing lush green feed during the last half of their pregnancy,” he said.

“These ewes are likely to have lambs with low or deficient levels of trace minerals selenium, copper, iodine and cobalt.”

Dr Suter said sheep ingested several essential trace minerals from soil intake, which usually occurred when ewes graze short pastures after a dry summer and before the autumn break.

“When there is a lot of early season pasture growth, the intake of trace minerals via the soil is less likely to occur,” he said.

He said sheep producers in known deficient areas should review their trace mineral supplement strategies to ensure ewes had adequate levels to produce healthy lambs.

Dr Suter said producers could also contact their local veterinarian or Agriculture Victoria’s animal health and welfare staff for further information and advice.

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