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Be wary of feed

Published on 11 December, 2006, Last updated at 14:45 GMT


Australia: VFF's livestock arm has warned farmers to take care sourcing stockfeed during the drought.

VFF Livestock president Ailsa Fox said although producers' first priority was to ensure their stocks' survival, they needed to be careful they were not buying into trouble.

"The cost and lack of availability of traditional stockfeed for the coming summer could potentially encourage some people to get inventive in sourcing alternatives," Ms Fox said.

"Some of these alternatives may have had chemical treatments that make them unsuitable as stockfeed.

"You really need to have the material tested to be sure it's safe to feed to your animals.

"The last thing we want is another cotton trash episode."

She said although cotton trash and ginning byproducts were no longer used as stockfeed, they were sometimes fed to cattle as a low cost form of supplementary roughage until 1995.

"Discovery of chemical residues in the meat from animals which had eaten this material led to serious international trade disturbances and great damage to the food safety reputation of Australia's red meat," Ms Fox said.

"If resorting to unusual feedstuffs, we strongly advise you to get the material analysed by a reputable analytical laboratory."

She said VFF had developed a list of laboratories that could be viewed by visiting

"The general advice we have obtained is not to exceed 20 per cent by weight of these `novelty' feeds, and always try to get a commodity vendor declaration, available from

"Ask the vendor about any chemical applications and withholding periods which may have food safety implications if the material is fed to animals.

"It's often better to stick with `tried and true' dry feeds because firstly, they don't hold the same residue concerns and secondly, their metabolisable energy and protein content are likely to be higher," Ms Fox said.


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