Nitrate poisoning has killed more than 200 head of cattle in Missouri in about the last 30 days. University of Missouri Extension beef nutritionist Eric Bailey tells Brownfield Ag News the problem has become worse because of the extended winter.
“Our hay feeding season is getting essentially stretched out a little longer and we’re down to sort of some of our more marginal feed stuff that we’re feeding out to our stock,” he says.
Bailey says weather extremes have contributed to toxic levels of nitrate in grass hay. He recommends testing hay for nitrates and limiting access if levels are high and adding some starch to the diet with corn.
“We’re trying to basically make the bugs in the room and use up that nitrate before it can ever be absorbed out of the room and go into the blood and cause the toxicity issues,” Bailey says.
He says bad calving weather and short feed supplies are also causing livestock health issues.
By Tom Steever of Brownfield Ag News