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A Coordinated Approach to Minimising the Impact of Annual Ryegrass Toxicity (ARGT) in Agriculture

Annual ryegrass toxicity (ARGT) is an acute and often-fatal neurological disease caused by consumption of annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum) seed heads infected with the bacterium Rathayibacter toxicus.

The aim was to reduce the cost of ARGT to agriculture, currently estimated at $40 million/year in Western Australian alone.

The project undertook to and succeeded in

  • improving ARGT research and extension coordination
  • developing better adoption and greater effectiveness of current knowledge and practices for reducing the risk of ARGT
  • undertaking multiple on-farm demonstration studies to examine the use of Safeguard ryegrass - a variety that will not cause ARGT
  • promoting greater uptake and effectiveness of twist fungus for biological control of ARGT. Successful establishment was shown to reduce the levels of deaths by 97% and monitoring required by 70%.
  • implementing an effective ARGT surveillance system in order that changes in the incidence of ARGT and causative organisms can be monitored.

Using combinations of these factors throughout the project, influence was acknowledged in 2006 by 18% of livestock producers in WA & SA, which translates into a cost saving to industry of approximately $5.9M. It is expected this figure is even greater since the project conclusion.​

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773.6KB 08/11/2011

This page was last updated on 24/07/2017

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