The University of Arizona

Prior feeding practices do not influence locoweed consumption.

M.H. Ralphs, G. Greathouse, A.P. Knight, D. Doherty, J.D. Graham, B.L. Stegelmeier, L.F. James


Anecdotal evidence suggests that cattle fed alfalfa hay during the winter are inclined to graze locoweed on spring range. Two studies were conducted to compare the influence of feeding alfalfa hay vs grass hay during the winter on subsequent consumption of white locoweed (Oxytropis sericea Nutt. ex T&G) in the spring. Eight cows were daily fed alfalfa hay (15.2% CP in 1998, 17.1% CP in 2000) and 8 cows were daily fed grass hay (10.7% CP in 1998, 12.1% CP in 2000) plus 20% protein molasses block during the January-April winter feeding period. Treatment groups grazed in separate pastures (8 ha) on white locoweed-infested range in May and June in northern Colorado in 1998 and in northeast New Mexico in 2000. Diets were estimated by bite count. There was no difference in locoweed consumption between the 2 groups (P > 0.22). Cattle grazed locoweed for 5% of diets in Colorado and 10% of diets in New Mexico. Feeding alfalfa hay over winter did not predispose cattle to graze locoweed in the spring. Previous research showed other feeding practices or supplements do not affect locoweed consumption or poisoning. Prevention of locoweed poisoning requires denying access to locoweed when it is relatively more palatable than associated forages.



indolizidine alkaloids;alfalfa;alfalfa hay;swainsonine;Oxytropis sericea;winter;spring;selective grazing;beef cows;hay;diets;prairies;New Mexico;Colorado;feeding preferences;poisonous plants

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