Don’t let grass seeds impact your bottom line

07 August 2015

With warmer months comes the growth of contaminant weeds that result in a loss of production and processing dollars in lambs and sheep.

Coordinator of the National Grass Seeds Program, Patrick Hutchinson, said that even in a drier summer season, weed seeds still pose a massive risk, but by taking action now producers can minimise the impact of grass seeds.

The typical grasses to keep an eye out for are: Barley grass, Brome grass, Chilean needle grass, Wiregrass, Silver grass, Speargrass and species of Erodium (common names such as Storksbill, Crowfoot, Corkscrew).

"Think about what your current season is like and the potential contaminant seed load in your sheep and lambs and what are your short, medium and long term management options," Patrick said.

"For the greatest success include grass seed management in your farm management program all year round.

“If you only do one thing to manage grass seeds it should be ensuring you have clean, well prepared paddocks ready for lamb production.”

Contact your processor to discuss their requirements, possible implications of grass seed contamination in lambs and their feedback information from a consignment. Processors may also offer a trial kill which gives you feedback on contamination on a small representative line.

Management options include:

Short term: Over spring and summer use strategic grazing, early shearing, feedlotting, selling lambs earlier, spray topping, harrowing, slashing and mowing to clear livestock walkways.

Medium to longer term: Options include winter cleaning of paddocks, breed and genetic management, targeting marketing and pasture improvement.

More information

Download your free copy of MLA’s Winning Against Seeds  or visit

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