Prussic acid a concern

cattle grazing_webAn Ohio State Extension forage specialist says with temperatures expected to dip into the low 30s by the weekend, the threat of prussic acid poisoning is a concern for livestock.

Mark Sulc says for ruminant animals, like cattle and sheep, prussic acid can be fatal if they eat forages such as sudangrass, forage sorghums or a sorghum-sudangrass mix which contain compounds that convert to prussic acid after a frost. But Sulc tells Brownfield there are things producers can do to avoid prussic acid, including making hay or silage, rather than grazing after a frost.

“Hay especially, it dries down and all the gases are released,” Sulc said. “Silage if you waited for the fermentation process, for four to eight weeks, it should be a very low content, even it was frosted at the time you cut.”

The symptoms of prussic acid poisoning include staggering, labored breathing, spasms, foaming at the mouth and convulsions.

Audio: Mark Sulc, Extension forage specialist, Ohio State University

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