Drought-stressed crops such as corn and sorghum tend to accumulate high levels of nitrate in the lower leaves and stalk of the plant. It is wise for producers to test their drought-stricken forage prior to harvest.
In last week's eUpdate, nitrate and prussic acid poisoning was discussed when feeding cattle certain types of forages. In this follow-up article, we share information on the different tests available and how to collect a representative sample.
Many Kansas cattle operations rely on some type of harvested feed to use in the winter months and common among those sources is forage sorghum, millets, sorghum-sudangrass, and sudan. When feeding cattles, forages in the sorghum family are prone nitrate poisoning and prussic acid poisoning. Learn the difference and how to test for these before a problem occurs.
When making harvesting or feeding decisions for forages that have potentially accumulated nitrates, our tendency is to want immediate answers. Laboratory analysis is by far the best test of nitrate toxicity. Two types of quick tests exist, and it is important to understand the limitations of these tests when considering their use.