The University of Arizona

Perceptions and economic losses from locoweed in north-eastern New Mexico.

L.A. Torell, L.P. Owen, K.C. McDaniel, D. Graham


Livestock producers and others knowledgeable about the locoweed problem in northeastern New Mexico were surveyed to obtain the production information needed to estimate economic losses from locoweed (Oxytropis/Astragalus) poisoning. A partial budgeting approach was used to estimate economic losses based on animal performance differences with increasing levels of poisoning. With current production costs and 1990-96 average beef prices, annual locoweed poisoning losses were estimated to be $75 head-1 for moderately poisoned animals, and $282 head-1 for severely poisoned animals. The most common locoweed management strategy used by northeastern New Mexico ranchers was to move animals observed eating locoweed into locoweed-free areas. Rehabilitation of these animals for an extended period before sale was found to decrease economic loss relative to immediate sale. Moderately and severely poisoned animals that are rehabilitated were estimated to gain 14% and 29% less than non-intoxicated animals. Other management options including chemical locoweed control, fencing, and locoweed aversion were found to be economically justified when relatively high locoweed infestations are anticipated.



losses;farmers' income;estimated costs;poisoning;avoidance conditioning;Oxytropis sericea;Astragalus mollissimus;controlled grazing;poisonous weeds;mathematical models;production costs;liveweight gain;feedlots;New Mexico;beef cattle

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