Rape poisoning in sheep

Rape poisoning in sheep
Peer reviewed

Abstract

Rape (Brassica napus) is grown in New Zealand predominantly for fattening lambs after weaning, although its use has steadily declined, especially in the North Island. One of the important precautions to be taken when using rape for supplementary feeding is that it must be mature before feeding. Rape grazed in the immature stage, before it takes on a purple tinge, can induce photosensitisation (rape scald). The exact nature of the photodynamic agent is unknown but it has been suggested that the high levels of non-protein nitrogen compounds present in the leaves of immature rape may cause this primary photosensitisation reaction.

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