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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 51(5)

Transmission of weed seed by livestock: a review

J. P. Hogan A and C. J. C. Phillips A B

A Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics, Gatton Campus, University of Queensland, Australia.
B Corresponding author. Email: c.phillips@uq.edu.au

Animal Production Science 51(5) 391-398 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AN10141
Submitted: 3 August 2010  Accepted: 3 February 2011   Published: 5 May 2011

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Weed seeds are readily translocated by livestock by attachment to their coat, by consumption or in vehicles used for transporting them. Livestock transport by land, sea and air is increasing worldwide, which together with increasing livestock production, is anticipated to escalate the risk of weed incursions and displace native flora. There is a particular risk of widespread weed seed dissemination in Australia with its extensive grazing practices and significant amounts of livestock movement. Consumption of weed seeds is largely dependent on grazing management practices, with lax grazing facilitating inflorescence production, the seeds of which may then be consumed if grazing pressure increases. Seed passage through the animal depends on the type of seed and animal intake and is typically 30–70 h. The germination rate of weed seeds is usually reduced by passage through the animal, but faeces in which seed is excreted also have the potential to provide nutrients and moisture to support the germinated plant. Seed viability is largely determined by the type of seed dormancy (particularly the permeability of the seed coat) and the species of livestock. It is concluded that weed seed transmission by livestock is a growing concern that requires addressing at local, national and international levels.


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