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Develop increased understanding, awareness & potential mitigation strategies for perennial ryegrass toxicosis in sheep production systems

Ryegrass pastures infected with the wild-type (WT) endophyte Neotyphodium lolii produces several classes of alkaloids which when ingested cause perennial ryegrass toxicosis (PRGT).  The effects of PRGT can be devastating, with serious outbreaks causing considerable losses and animal welfare problems.  Recent estimates place the economic cost to the Australian Sheep Industry resulting from clinical, sub-clinical and indirect effects on animal performance, at $100 million dollars annually. Alkaloids produced by endophyte in ryegrass provide resistance to insect pests and confer agronomic advantages, and are therefore essential for enhancing the persistence and productivity of ryegrass. Development of novel ryegrass endophytes that do not cause or have reduced animal health problems provides an important option to ensure improved persistence and production of ryegrass.  In addition, there is potential for utilizing rumen detoxifying agents to provide short term mitigation and/or preventative strategies for managing PRGT.

Broad objectives of this project were:

  • Assess the pasture performance and physiological and productivity responses of sheep grazing AR1, AR37 and WT endophyte-infected perennial ryegrass
  • Characterize the interaction between known endophyte alkaloid intake and a range of conditions (temperature, nutrition plane) on the productivity and physiology of sheep.
  • Develop an animal model and experimental approach to investigate the efficacy of currently available rumen detoxifying agents on mitigating PRGT.
  • Assess the production and economic impact of grazing weaner sheep on commercial, WT perennial ryegrass pastures and evaluate the efficacy of novel rumen detoxifying agent.


Title Size Date published
1.8MB 11/04/2014


Contract No. Title Start date End date Funding type
PRGT: Developing increased understanding, awareness and potential mitigation strategies for perennial ryegrass toxicosis in sheep production systems
01/01/2011 14/01/2013

This page was last updated on 05/07/2018

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