A VICTORIAN-based survey aims to find out more about phalaris toxicity and the cultivars that cause it.
Livestock Logic veterinary and agricultural consultant David Rendell, who spoke at the Grasslands Society of Southern Australia pasture update at Clare last Thursday, said he started the survey to dispel myths on how to cure or prevent phalaris toxicity.
"There's a lot of gobbledygook on the internet and a lot of misinformation on the role of cobalt and Vitamin B12 in preventing this type of toxicity," he said.
"I decided to start the survey because earlier this year many properties had been dry for so long that the early shoots (of phalaris) were particularly dangerous.
"I know of 32 properties that have had one mob of sheep die."
Dr Rendell had been pleased with the survey responses, with 63 respondents so far.
"But I would like to see double that," he said.
It was hard to draw conclusions at this early stage of the survey, but so far phalaris cultivar Holdfast GT was over-represented.
At this stage no deaths had been recorded with stock grazing Landmaster, but with only one respondent having grown this variety this was difficult to gauge.
There had also been no reports of deaths from Atlas, Sirolan or Lawson cultivars
"We haven't been able to prove this yet or not," Dr Rendell said.
"These cultivars are not used as much, so I would be keen to hear if they had caused any problems.
"Ideally I would like to get a response from people who have not had a problem, as well as those who have had one."
He expected the survey to close by the end of August.
*Full report in Stock Journal, August 1 issue, 2013.