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Investigating the cause and prevention of red gut in lambs grazing lucerne

Help identify factors contributing to the incidence of red gut in lambs grazing lucerne, and develop strategies to prevent red gut from occurring.

Sheep grazing, Roseworthy

Red gut is reported in the scientific literature globally as a cause of lamb loss, but the specific cause and solution remains uncertain. It is postulated that the primary aetiology is lack of fibre in the diet contributing to strangulation of the gut resulting in sudden death.

It is almost exclusively associated with consuming 100% legume diets and is recognised to cause up to 10% mortality in some flocks in the upper South East.

Some lamb producers claim to have significantly reduced their lamb mortality while grazing lucerne by the use of foliar sprays, but this has not been tested.

Lucerne Australia have identified red gut as the most important animal health issue to lucerne growers in the upper South East of South Australia. They are interested in contributing funds towards finding a solution to this disease.

Key methodology: On farm trials to examine the success of manipulating macro and trace element nutrition to livestock via soil and pasture to control or eliminate red gut as a cause of mortality in lambs grazing lucerne.


Tagged in Honours projects - Animal science, Honours in Animal Science subtheme - Production animal health, Honours projects - Colin Trengove, Honours projects - Eleonora Dal Grande