- news, features, articles and disease information for the dairy industry


Mystery Swede Problem Killing New Zealand Cows

16 September 2014

NEW ZEALAND – Veterinary professionals are working hard to understand a cattle illness, sometimes proving fatal, caused by grazing forage swede crops in the south of New Zealand.

Testing of blood and crop material is heading up a coordinated scientific inquiry to solve the puzzle affecting southland herds while or shortly after swede crops have been grazed.

Farmers are being warned to be vigilant when grazing stock on swedes, a critical crop to many feed plans.

An email survey from DairyNZ is being sent round southland farmers to gather data on numbers affected and deaths, sicknesses and grazing patterns.

What are the warning signs to look for if your cows are or have been on swedes?
• Weight loss and ill-thrift.
• Down-cows that are unresponsive to normal metabolic intervention.
• Photosensitivity. Signs of this include:

i) cows seeking shade (if available)
ii) reddening of the udder and skin damage to white skin areas
iii) restlessness shown by skin twitching; flicking of ears and tail; irritability; and stomping.

TheCattleSite News Desk

Top image via Shutterstock

Our Sponsors


Seasonal Picks

British Field Crops 2nd edition