Dale Watson
Commercial Agriculture Beef and Livestock Specialist
University of Missouri Extension




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Please send your comments and sund suggestions to Dale Watson, Commercial Agriculture Beef and Livestock Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, 111 N. Mason, Carrollton, MO 64633, call 660-542-1792, or send messages by e-mail to: watsond@missouri.edu.
For the Week of
September 10, 1998

Fall Health Considerations

Dry falls are great for harvesting crops. But, each year calls are received concerning consumption of toxic plants when quantities of available forage become reduced largely due to dry weather conditions. Literally hundreds of plants have the potential of being toxic when consumed in sufficient quantities by grazing animals. Each plant varies in its toxicity content and symptoms. Recognizing the symptoms of each individual plant would be next to impossible for the livestock producer.

A few plants are always mentioned first when toxic plants are discussed. These are poison hemlock, water hemlock and white snakeroot. Crop land weeds that can become toxic if consumed in sufficient levels are black nightshade, jimsonweed weed, pigweed and cocklebur.

We are fortunate because animals generally don't consume toxic plants unless they are the only forage available. Over grazed pastures are the culprit for most plant poison diagnosis. Most plant poison occurs when animals consume the leaves of certain plants when they are downed by inclement weather conditions. Wild cherry and red maple leaves can cause toxic symptoms. Trimmings from homesteads are often detrimental to livestock. Japanese yew, rhododendron, azaleas must be disposed of in a manner where livestock cannot reach them.

Numerous toxic effects occur each year from trimming these yard or garden plants and disposing of them simply by throwing them over the fence where livestock are grazing. Acorns, often times considered a novelty production by oak trees, are toxic certain fall grazing season.

Good pasture management and prevention are the best method of controlling livestock poisoning. Providing ample forage either through grazing management or supplemental forage generally reduces the toxic effect on livestock. Clipping, chemical control or removal of toxic plants are management practices that reduce the possibility of toxicity occurring from consumption of plants by livestock.

University of Missouri ExtensionDale's Country Trails - September 10, 1998
http://outreach.missouri.edu/agconnection/DCT/CT091098.html -- Revised: April 20, 2004