Testing hay for annual ryegrass toxicity (ARGT) risk

Page last updated: Monday, 20 April 2020 - 4:31pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Hay that contains annual ryegrass may cause annual ryegrass toxicity (ARGT). Hay can be tested for ARGT risk. The test provides a risk rating for toxicity. Submit up to a maximum of one kilogram of hay randomly selected from representative bales.

Note: The information below does not apply to certification testing of hay for export overseas or interstate or for ARGT testing of grain, pasture or animal samples.

Vendor declarations

When buying hay, it is recommended that you ask for a vendor declaration before purchase, and ask if ARGT testing has been done. Suitable declarations are available from the Australian Fodder Industry Association and Meat and Livestock Australia.


Sample weight

  • A minimum sample weight of 100 grams is required for testing. Samples should not exceed one kilogram.
  • If you have multiple bales, collect a sub-sample from up to 10 bales to make up a total of 1kg. For example, if there are 10 bales, collect approximately 100g hay from each bale to make up 1kg.

Sampling technique

  • To sample the hay bale, take representative ‘grab’ samples from within the bale. Only ryegrass seeds can contain the toxin, however to assess the risk of feeding the hay, include a similar percentage of ryegrass in the sample as present in the hay.
  • Try to sample as possible to the centre of the bale as this area is the most likely to be compressed and holding all ryegrass seed head (if present) in place, rather than falling to the ground.


  • The hay sample/s should be put into a clean plastic bag. Label the sample with your name and, if multiple samples are submitted, label with an identifier such as 'Bales 1 to 10'.
  • Submit the bagged hay sample to DPIRD Diagnostics & Laboratory Services (DDLS) (located at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia, South Perth office).

DDLS – Specimen Reception C Block
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
3 Baron-Hay Court, South Perth WA 6151
Email: DDLS@dpird.wa.gov.au

  • Regional clients can take samples to your local DPIRD regional office. Courier fees for sending the sample to the diagnostic laboratory will apply.
  • A laboratory submission form will need to be completed when the samples are dropped off. Please ensure that you fill out the property identification code (PIC) box on the submission form.

DDLS animal disease investigation submission form

Time to results

  • Testing takes a minimum of 24 hours, as pastures need to be soaked overnight prior to testing.
  • During peak season, for submissions received by 3pm Monday to Thursday, DDLS aims to report results on the following working day. (Friday submissions will be reported on Tuesday.)
  • During off season, testing is generally only carried out once a week.

Cost of testing

The cost of conducting testing for a 1kg hay sample (from up to 10 hay bales) for ARGT risk is $49.00 per sample (GST inclusive) plus a $17.50 (GST inclusive) handling fee per submission. (Note: prices are subject to change at end of financial year.)

More information

Contact DDLS South Perth  on +61 (0)8 9368 3353.