Toxicity Alert

Hairy Panic, Heliotrope, Goosefoot and Summer Weeds

Summary:
- Recent rain on bare, dry or harvested paddocks is a haven for summer and weeds.
- Hairy Panic, Heliotrope and Goosefoot and other weeds will become prevalent due to moist soils and last year’s strong seed set.
- These weeds contain a variety of anti-nutrient factors and toxins
- These factors can express themselves broadly in acute and chronic poisoning.
- StockMins-Detox and StockGro-DeTox contain a Toxin Binder that, when fed together with toxic weeds, helps to bind ingested toxins rendering them inactive in the animal.

Background
Summer weeds tend to proliferate after rain and also where challenges from other pasture species and crops are weak. Germination and growth this year looks to be widespread as weather conditions and seed set from last year line up.
The nutritional content of most summer weeds is quite significant. For example, recent analyses at ANP show that Goosefoot contains 26% protein and 10.9Mj/KgDM and Black Grass has 10% and 7Mj/KgDM, respectively, but there can be other issues.

The Problem
The problem is the content of anti-nutrient factors such as nitrates, alkaloids and copper (Heliotrope) that either have an acute impact (nitrates) or have a more prolonged impact such as liver damage that may take weeks or even months to manifest itself in deaths or low productivity.
The liver tends to behave as a collecting ground for toxins and once in the system they accumulate rather then disperse.
Although the toxins are generally tolerated by sheep better then cattle, cattle will tend to shy away from eating toxic weeds such as Heliotrope so long as there are alternatives, whereas sheep are less selective.
Whilst animals are inactive and on maintenance diets, alkaloid symptoms may well remain benign, but with sudden activity such as lambing or shearing or an elevation in plain of nutrition such as grain feeding or feedlotting, the problem emerges as the body commands the liver for activity but the liver is unable to sufficiently respond.
When purchasing livestock, especially through the yards, it makes good sense to check the pasture history, especially after a season like this.

Control
Nitrate poisoning may be controlled with sugar or other readily available sources of carbohydrate that ‘mop up’ excess nitrogen, but in practice it is costly and time demanding.
Cyano chemicals can be neutralized using sulphur additions to the diet and copper toxicity can be offset with sulphur and molybdenum in very controlled amounts.

Toxins are more difficult. Once they enter the body they are difficult to remove even over time. The solution is to bind the toxins to render them inactive. To do this, specific toxin binders must be fed together with the target feed to be effective.

StockMins-DeTox (a granular loose lick) has been designed for this purpose and to address all the issues mentioned above. It contains a very active toxin binder, sulphur and molybdenum to control copper issues and it also has the ability to reduce nitrate poisoning.
StockGro-DeTox (a Liquid Feed Supplement) as above is also available for cattle.

Cost
StockMins-DeTox costs $54.00 per 25kg bag. Fed free access, sheep should limit intake to 20 – 25gms per head per day costing around 5 cents. In addition, to the detoxifying effects, StockMins-DeTox offers a full range of minerals, vitamins and trace elements to encourage immune response and better animal health.