Monday Extension Report – August 11, 2014

August 11, 2014

Thank you Cherry County Fair volunteers, sponsors, donors and buyers

Another Cherry County Fair has come and gone. I want to say thanks to all of the volunteers that work so hard to make it happen. I especially want to commend the Ag society on a great job. Of course I also want to say thanks also to all of our 4-H volunteers. We simply could not have fair without you.

I also want to thank all buyers at the 4-H/FFA livestock auction. Your support enables the kids to be able to afford to learn about raising a meat-producing animal. I also want to thank the donors and ticket buyers in the 4-H Luck of the Draw fundraiser at bull bash. The trophies at fair are made possible by that support.


Watch out for poisonous plants in hay

I want to switch gears and talk again about weeds. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the importance of knowing what plants were growing in your pastures. I want to continue that theme today. But today I want to concentrate on weeds in your hay field, specifically, poisonous plants.

Cherry County hay growers should be keeping an eye out for Poison hemlock, and it’s cousin, Western water hemlock. Both are extremely toxic. They are among the most toxic plants in existence. Unfortunately, they have become plentiful in some area hay meadows.

Ranchers don’t normally experience poisoning when pastures containing Poison hemlock are grazed because cattle would prefer not to eat the hemlock plants. Things are different once the plants get rolled up in hay bales. The livestock aren’t able to sort it out as well, especially if the hay is fed with a bale processor. The poison hemlock plants remain poisonous in the hay. In some circumstances it can take less than a pound of poison hemlock to kill a cow.

It is best to mow around the weeds and never put them in a bale. Also, be careful not to sell, or to buy for that matter, hay that contains Poison hemlock, or Western water hemlock.

There may be so much Poison and Western water hemlock in your meadow that you need to spray. Do not try to graze after spraying. Herbicides alter the plant biochemistry and often increase palatability. Which makes it more likely that animals will eat enough of it to cause poisoning.


As always, you can call the extension office at 402-376-1850 for more information.


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