Australian Weeds and Livestock


Some 15 years ago Helen Simmonds helped out at ‘Small Farm Field Days’ and promoted the use of goats for purposes other than milk, meat and fibre - namely weed eating! A goat will get into normally inaccessible places. As a result, she became fascinated by the effects weeds and other plants can have on our livestock and pets.

The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) published a small book entitled “The Palatability and Potential Toxicity of Australian Weeds to Goats” by Helen Simmonds, Peter Holst and Chris Bourke in 2000. Since then Helen has continued her research and updates. Being involved in Judging, and otherwise helping at RAS venues around Australia, provided a valuable insight into problems facing livestock producers.

This site aims to provide information to livestock producers, and to the backyard gardener, on the effects some plants can have on our lives. Dogs, cats, children, horses as well as livestock, can be affected by the prettiest plants.

A “toxic” plant does not necessarily mean a fatality, the description is used to indicate an effect on the health and condition of an animal. Some plants that have been declared as “noxious” in certain parts of Australia have also been mentioned, especially where these plants have a deleterious effect on animals.   

If in doubt as to the identification and/or eradication of any plant, contact your local Weeds Officer, Department of Primary Industries, or Rural Lands Protection Board agent in Australia, or the relevant authority overseas.

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