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Pastures & Forages

High nitrate in hay causes cow deaths

COLUMBIA, Mo. – On top of dealing with harsh winter weather in feeding cows, cattle farmers must guard against too much nitrate in poor-quality hay. “Just from cases we’ve confirmed, I know of 150 cows dying in the last month,” says Tim Evans, head toxicologist at the University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory. High nitrate, mostly concentrated in grass stems, causes quick death, Evans says. Nitrate converts to nitrite in a cow’s rumen. Nitrite in the blood blocks oxygen uptake....



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