A MAJOR research project to overcome Pimelea plant poisoning in cattle will now get underway after AgForce successfully negotiated a funding model for the project with Meat and Livestock Australia.
AgForce General President, Grant Maudsley, said primary producers across Australia had lost hundreds of cattle to Pimelea poisoning in recent years — and the problem was getting worse.
“Pimelea is a native, toxic plant that occurs over one third of Australia’s pastoral area across five states causing seasonal cattle deaths, reduced weight gain in surviving cattle and rendering large pasture areas too risky for grazing,” he said.
“Graziers, stock agents, agribusinesses and councils between Winton (Queensland) to the Broken Hill region (New South Wales) desperately want answers to reduce the financial and emotional impacts of Pimelea, and this research project is the first step in that process.”
Mr Maudsley said nearly 40 Western Queensland producers had joined together to pledge cash and in-kind support for Pimelea research, which had helped leverage co-matching funding from Meat and Livestock Australia’s Donor Company.
“This is a brand new way for grass roots producers to drive research and development to deliver solutions to a major problem affecting their industry,” he said.
“While an initial funding application was unsuccessful because the Producer Innovation Fast Track grant program was oversubscribed, we are extremely grateful to MLA for being flexible and coming up with the Donor Company funds to ensure this vital research can now go ahead.
“Being able to start Pimelea research now is a fantastic outcome as it coincides with Pimelea plants and affected cattle being most prevalent.”
The initial research project will run until December 2017, and will focus on developing a probiotic microbe, in the form of a drench, that can degrade the toxin in the rumen before it affects the small intestine.
Options to fund additional Pimelea research beyond 2017 will be pursued in coming months.