Given the extent of the drought this past growing season, many forages contain high levels of nitrate that can cause toxicity issues in cattle. “Once you have a good idea of what your nitrate content is in all of your hay, then we can start looking at the possibility of blending all these hays together, whether that’s through a Hay Buster, some type of bale processor, or in a situation where you’re rolling out bales,” said Zac Carlson, beef cattle specialist, NDSU Extension. “The best strategy is to slow the intake of high nitrate forage”. Carlson recommends testing your nitrate content before blending hay together of different nitrate levels and controlling the intake. “What you don’t want to do is have free-choice of high-nitrate forage. There’s nothing to say even one cow might go to the high-nitrate forage and consume that completely, which can cause toxicity issues.”
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