Warning: Nitrate poisoning in local area
May 15, 2019
We have seen cases of nitrate poisoning this week and several grass samples are showing high levels of nitrates. Be careful about how you manage your pasture!
Risk factors to watch for:
- Overcast days after days of rapid grass growth (warm, sunny days)
- Hungry animals onto fresh breaks
- Annual grass in early spring/autumn
- Feeding immature crops
- Applying urea in the last 7 days
Cows with nitrate toxicity may be slow and staggering, have trouble breathing, down or go down suddenly after running. Mucous membranes (vulva, mouth) may be a purple-brown colour. It is important not to put animals under any stress following nitrate poisoning. Slowly remove cattle from the offending pasture onto grass that has been safely grazed. Any down cows should be attended by a vet as soon as possible; there is a very effective antidote available.
If you are suspicious of any paddocks, bring in a sample for testing at the clinic or we sell nitrate test kits for home use.