Pimelea research seeks more money

Pimelea project still in need of funds for vital research

Beef
Pimelea poisoning has become a serious issue in south west Queensland with producers in desperate need of treatments and more knowledge about the catastrophic weed. About $200,000 is still needed to gain a $1 million government grant to fund a research project into possible treatments. Picture: Supplied

Pimelea poisoning has become a serious issue in south west Queensland with producers in desperate need of treatments and more knowledge about the catastrophic weed. About $200,000 is still needed to gain a $1 million government grant to fund a research project into possible treatments. Picture: Supplied

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Research into Pimelea was conducted more than 10 years ago but a new project is needed now more than ever.

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MORE than 100 producers attended a forum on Pimelea at the Roma Saleyards on Tuesday armed with plenty of questions, but nobody had the right answers.

Researchers, agents and AgForce representatives updated the crowd on their quest to gain funding for a new million dollar research project focused on developing a treatment through rumen detoxification.

So far more than $300,000 in cash and in-kind donations have been raised with a goal of $500,000 to be matched by a government grant.

UQ associate professor Mary Fletcher and DAF principal molecular biologist Diane Ouwerkerk will lead the proposed research.

Currently there is no treatment or cure for Pimelea poisoning and while research was conducted 10 years ago Dr Fletcher said it only gave them an understanding of the problem.

She said the plant would always be around so they intended on working to manage it from inside the animal.

“We want to be able to treat the cattle and give them a reserve in their stomach so they can actually deal with the toxin,” she said.

“Even when the toxin gets in the stomach it doesn’t actually poison the animal until it gets absorbed.”

Ms Ouwerkerk said it could be a few years before they would know if a treatment was possible and then some time after that before a product would be available.

“The Leucaena plant that’s used as fodder, it has a toxin in it and we have a probiotic drench that farmers drench their cattle with that is able to break down the toxin,” she said.

“Our ultimate aim is to have some sort of probiotic drench when going into pastures with Pimelea.” 

The poisoning has already affected many producers including Rachel Cant and her husband Luke.

The couple were hoping to establish themselves in the industry after buying their property, Abbington, south of Roma, just over a year ago.

They recently purchased PTIC heifers to establish their breeder herd, but were affected by Pimelea poisoning and are now hoping the project can provide answers so they can move forward.

Landmark also announced on the day that they would sell any cattle donations at the Roma Saleyards commission free.

To donate or for more information contact AgForce via agforce@agforceqld.org.au or call 3236 3100. 

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