Expert: Nitrate poisoning kills around 300 Missouri cows

6 months 4 days 3 hours ago Tuesday, March 12 2019 Mar 12, 2019 Tuesday, March 12, 2019 7:21:00 PM CDT March 12, 2019 in News
By: Tana Kelley, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

HOLLIDAY - The sporadic weather is common in Missouri, but a report done by the MU Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in Columbia, said farmers need to watch what they feed their livestock.

The report said that in February more than 200 cows in Missouri have died from nitrate poisoning. Dr. Tim Evans, a section head at MU Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, said that number is close to 300 now after six weeks. 

Nitrogen goes into the feed, like hay, which is normally good for the cow’s digestions. However, when there’s too much rain or drought, more nitrate accumulates in the plant and stays there. 

When livestock, like cows, eat that hay, they actually overconsume nitrite in their digestive system. That nitrite goes into the bloodstream and makes it so the blood is unable to transport oxygen. The cows die eventually from a lack of oxygen. 

This happens when there is unusual weather. The report said if there is too much rain turned to too much drought, or hot weather turned very cold, it will affect the biology of plant growth. The drought also meant a lot of hay shortages, which also had an effect. 

“What’s going on is for about the last, maybe the last 18 months to 24 months, we’ve had less than adequate forage for our cattle,” Evans said.  “We run out of forage, we end up getting poor quality forage to feed the animals and then what happens, some of that poor forage is going to be stemmier, it’s going to have higher concentrations of nitrate in it.” 

Ed Mitchell, a farmer in Holliday, Missouri, said he knows this problem well.

“The spring of the year seems to me more often we start having these issues,” Mitchell said. “Because we are getting to the end of the season, so sometimes the hay that we’re feeding this time of year isn’t as good a quality as the hay we fed at the beginning of the season.”

Mitchell said it’s important to give his cow’s good forage.

“You take care of your livestock and your livestock will take care of you,” Mitchell said.

Luckily, nitrate is not a problem for Mitchell.

“We know our hay when we bale it, we don’t add extra fertilizers and things on it that could cause a nitrate issue,” Mitchell said.

For farmers who use fertilizer or have to buy their hay elsewhere, it’s something experts said they must watch out for by getting their hay tested.

Evans said that the problem is that some farmers only test one bale.

“Because of the amount of problems with the forage this last year, it’s not very uniform. So one bale may be low, there may be another bale that is kind of medium and there’s another bale that is sky high,” Evans said. “You may have to check more than one bale.”

Mitchell said farmers who buy their hay should also monitor their cows. 

“Watch your livestock watch your cows, your calves, if they’re holding their head down, if they’re away from the others, you want to check them to make sure they’re not sick,” Mitchell said.

If they already see problems with their livestock, he said farmers should see a veterinarian immediately and to examine the animals to see the nitrate levels.

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - Officers have taken a man into custody in relation to a shots fired incident on Sept. 3... More >>
15 hours ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 9:51:00 PM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Officers responded to reports of a car crashing into a home in the 900 block of Sardonyx... More >>
15 hours ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 9:45:00 PM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A truck crashed into the Ventura Townhome complex Saturday morning in relation to a domestic assault, according... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 5:20:00 PM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The 4th annual Tunnel to Towers 5K was held at the Governor's Garden on Saturday. This... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 4:29:00 PM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — The Jefferson City Police Department announced its participation in the National Child Passenger Safety Week enforcement campaign... More >>
21 hours ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 3:37:00 PM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
NEW LEBANON - For one group, New Lebanon's bicentennial celebration was a unification decades in the making. While researching her... More >>
22 hours ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 3:07:00 PM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The percentage of successful disability cases aimed at reversing the denial or re-evaluation of benefits... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 10:37:39 AM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department is investigating two homicides after three people were shot overnight. Officers said they... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 3:04:00 AM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Below are scores from football games around mid-Missouri. Final scores are in bold. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 6:32:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in Friday Night Fever
JEFFERSON CITY - A recent Facebook post showed grass clippings left out in Jefferson City. Many commented on the post... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 6:11:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia police and the city's Solid Waste Department will expand the search area in the Megan Shultz case.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 4:44:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - It's been nine months since Melissa Peskey's death, and the family together with the Missouri State Highway... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 4:15:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Senate unanimously passed HB 1, which will allow the sales proceeds of more than one... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 3:54:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
SEDALIA - A boil water advisory has been expanded in the city of Sedalia. The city is expanding the... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 3:46:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – The Board of Curators at Lincoln University approved a plan Thursday night to rebuild the Dickinson Research... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 3:23:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
COOPER COUNTY - State troopers ended up making a large drug bust after a K9 found methamphetamine during a traffic... More >>
2 days ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 12:46:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
JOPLIN (AP) — Jasper County authorities say a deputy was shot and a man was later found dead after a... More >>
2 days ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 11:40:08 AM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Police confirmed a shots fired incident Thursday evening on Currituck Lane. Dispatchers got several shots fired calls... More >>
2 days ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 11:36:00 AM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 89°
2pm 89°
3pm 91°
4pm 91°
5pm 90°