The transmission of serrated tussock (Nassella trichotoma) seeds through the sheep rumen and their viability after ingestion

Cathy Cook, LaTrobe University, Department of Botany, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia.

This study examined the possibility of animals and hay acting as dispersal agents for Nassella trichotoma. Nine, eighteen month old, merino wethers were separated into two groups and housed in metabolism cages. The first five sheep were fed a diet (1) of 800 g lucerne chaff and 200 g barley, the other four were fed on a diet (2) of 800 g oaten chaff and 400 g Barastock pellets. After nine days on the diet, each sheep was fed 5 g of N. trichotoma seeds. Faecal collections were taken at approximately the same time each day for 21 days. Samples were taken to measure dry matter, faecal extraction, and faecal germination. Most seed extracted was recovered in the first seven days for both diets. All seeds extracted were germinated at 25°C (12 h light/dark). Faecal germination samples were crushed and covered in sand and placed in the glasshouse to germinate.


Plant Protection Quarterly (1998) 13 (2) 93.