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Copper deficiency - A review of the economic cost and current constraints to effective management of copper deficiency in southern Australian sheep flocks
As pasture testing has continued to reveal a broader issue of copper deficiency in areas not previously considered at risk, this trial was initiated to investigate the prevalence, effects, identification and treatment options for copper deficiency in sheep flocks. Following an extensive literature review, a series of trials were conducted at six sites in South Australia and Victoria to measure the impact and effect of treatments on copper deficiency. It was found that scouring and lameness in sheep are not directly related to copper deficiency, as is commonly believed. The greatest production effect of copper deficiency was a reduction in ewe and lamb survival rates. A range of methods were tested for identifying the extent of copper deficiency on a property, with pasture mineral analysis proving to be the most useful and cost effective option for producers to implement. A range of treatment options were trialled; each was effective at elevating liver copper concentration in line with their respective copper dose rate. Selection of the most appropriate treatment will depend on the severity of the deficiency and the required treatment length of time. Professional advice should be sought in recommending an appropriate copper dose rate as toxicity can be experienced where excessive amounts of copper are provided.
This page was last updated on 24/07/2017
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