Farmers warned to be on alert after cases of livestock disease lupinosis seen in Mid West and regional WA

Jamie ThannooGeraldton Guardian
Sheep at Glenridge Park farm, north of Mt Barker.
Camera IconSheep at Glenridge Park farm, north of Mt Barker. Credit: Stuart McGuckin/RegionalHUB

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is warning farmers to be wary of discoloured lupin seeds after cases of livestock disease lupinosis were seen across the agricultural region, including the Mid West.

Following autumn rainfall, DPIRD has said there have been sporadic reports of the disease, which is caused by livestock eating the stems of lupin stubble and seed that has been infected by a fungus called Diaporthe toxica.

Vets in Geraldton, Northam, Kondinin, and Albany have investigated several cases in sheep since March.

The liver disease features early signs such as a loss of appetite and condition, lethargy and disorientation, while clinical signs include a hunched appearance and jaundice or yellowing in the eyes.

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“To prevent lupinosis DPIRD recommends removing stock from stubble paddocks before the lupin seed count gets below 40 seeds per square metre (50kg/ha of lupin seed), providing multiple water points and monitoring stock, particularly weaners,” a DPIRD spokesperson said.

“DPIRD advises lupin seed with more than 10 per cent discolouration should not be fed to livestock, while seed with less than 10 per cent discolouration should only be fed in limited amounts.”

It is recommended that livestock producers who suspect lupinosis remove all stock off the lupin stubble immediately and relocate to a paddock with shade, water and a good quality oaten hay.

The department has said a private or DPIRD veterinarian should be contacted if a significant or unusual livestock disease is suspected.

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