Since poisoning by Senecio spp. is one of the main causes of cattle death in southern Brazil, control of these plants is a priority for the local livestock production. After the pasture has been mowed, grazing by 16 sheep was efficient for controlling Senecio brasiliensis and Senecio madagascariensis populations in a 5.5-hectare area that had long been severely infested with these species. A total of 28,629 plants among S. brasiliensis (flower-of-souls, 10,122) and S.madagascariensis (fireweed, 18,507) were almost completely eliminated in a two-year period. The number of sheep was kept at 3.0 stock units/ha, but a variable number of cattle were temporarily stocked according to pasture availability. The major sanitary practice applied to the sheep was anthelmintic administration. Liver biopsies taken from sheep and cattle before and after experimental period didn't reveal any change associable with seneciosis. The performance levels of the sheep were comparable to those observed in flocks managed under traditional extensive grazing systems in southern Brazil.
Senecio brasiliensis; Senecio madagascariensis; control; sheep grazing; sheep performance