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grass goes toxic, kills cattle

 
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This is a weird one. I was suspicious when I saw it attributed to GMO grass, and the correction says it isn't. Ruminants can be touchy and sometimes die of indigestion, because they can't throw up. Horses especially.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57459357/gm-grass-linked-to-texas-cattle-deaths/?tag=reddit

This year we have twice as much foliage everywhere here due to wet spring. I have way more clover than usual but also way more bracken fern. I am hoping to mulch with it.
Climate change will alter the balance of species.

Even if Salatin and Arthur Hollins are right about grassfeeding, we still have to maintain the pasture to keep it nutritious.
 
pollinator
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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I believe this was already posted. Hybrid not GMO and I think not that unusual. Make sure your animals have access to salt, it can prevent/mitigate those types of (cyanide) poisonings.
 
master pollinator
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A large diversity of forage species is probably the best defense against some of these problems.
 
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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This incident reinforces my opinion that a good mix of native grasses should be at least the majority of a pasture.
The hybrid, specialty grasses often do not prosper sustainably when conditions revert to a non 'normal' condition.
The native grasses can deal with whatever the region throws at it - even in "off years".

 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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As far as I can tell virtually all our exotic "improved" grass - King Ranch Bluestem - DIED during last year's drought. It had displaced most of the native grasses. So our poor fields are bald,bald, bald.

http://www.texasinvasives.org/plant_database/detail.php?symbol=BOISS
 
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Location: Toledo, WA
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More likely it's grass tetany. Too much Spring Fresh and High Protein grasses and clovers. The key is dry hay or High Mag with Cooper licks to mitigate. They say the first sign of Grass Tetany is death, harsh but apparently true. Sounds exactly like the symptoms listed in the article. If you watch/listen to Greg Judy's video again, listen carefully and he says with stock piled grasses - WITH OLD DEAD GRASS (aka Hay) included in the stock piled pastures - there is no issue with all the fresh green also growing up in it - because when they Mob it - they eat everything - including the dead grasses - and his words ... "we don't have to feed hay..." ie - to protect against grass tetany.
 
Vickie Hinkley
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[url=http://www.ansc.purdue.edu/beef/articles/GrassTetanyBloat.pdf]

GrassTetany - Purdue paper

"Unfortunately in many cases of grass tetany, symptoms are not noted and the only evidence is a
dead cow."
 
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Location: Slovakia
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I've been reading Soil Fertility and Animal Health by William Albrecht. In it he not only discusses the issue of fast growing spring grass on Magnesium deficient soil poisoning cattle, but really covers everything about mineral balances and soil fertility.
 
John Polk
steward
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Dr Albrecht was well ahead of his time. He began publishing about soils and their health in 1918.
Some quotes from "Dr Dirt":

" The soil is the ‘creative material’ of most of the basic needs of life. Creation starts with a handful of dust.”
"You have to have a vision. Unless you do, nature will never reveal herself."



Several of his publications are available here as free downloads:
http://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/01aglibwelcome.html

 
Andrew Ray
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Location: Slovakia
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John Polk wrote:
Several of his publications are available here as free downloads:
http://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/01aglibwelcome.html



Thanks for the link. I've been there before, but somehow skipped over Albrecht. Now that I'm almost finished with that book, I'll download some of these to the ebook reader!
 
pollinator
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Location: East Central GA, Ultisol, Zone 8, Humid
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I decided to read through Albrecht's work (I always love free reading by wise old guys) and I'm about halfway through "Soil Fertility and Animal Health" and I'm already astounded.

Apparently we permaculturists have been doing the whole green manure thing all wrong; pigs and cows prefer to eat corn grown in a field where the green manure is allowed to set seed, dry, and die off on its own. At least according to the animals, this produces a better balance of organic soil nutrition, and more flavorful produce.
 
Vickie Hinkley
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Location: Toledo, WA
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.... pigs and cows prefer to eat corn grown in a field where the green manure is allowed to set seed, dry, and die off on its own. At least according to the animals, this produces a better balance of organic soil nutrition, and more flavorful produce.

Exactly - If you have and hour or so - the MOB grazing - method - totally different from our original "new" concepts of rotational grazing, strip grazing - Greg Judy does a nice job covering the issues:

webpage
 
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