Livestock, like any living thing, is affected by the chemicals that they are exposed to. Some chemicals are intentionally used, such as medications, for the betterment of the animal’s health. However, some chemicals can be detrimental to the health of livestock, and in turn, humans who consume livestock products including milk, cheese, and meat.

The jury is still out on what effects if any, that picture fertilizers have on grazing livestock such as cattle, sheep, and horses. A good deal of the lack of a black and white answer has to do with the wide variety of parties fertilizers available and used. In today’s post, we will help to clarify some concerns.

Nitrogen Poisoning

Nitrogen is a natural element found in all living things and is essential to the growth of vegetation. All fertilizers have some amount of nitrogen as the staple for growing crops, gardens, or pastures. However, as with most good things, too much can be dangerous. Nitrogen poisoning can occur in grazing livestock when too much nitrogen is present in the pasture and consumed. This can happen when proper amounts of nitrogen are applied and drought conditions exist, when too much nitrogen is applied, or when the plants that the animals eat have too much nitrogen that has not converted to protein. Unfortunately, plants that are high in nitrate concentration taste good to livestock, namely cattle. And, cattle are more prone to nitrate toxicity than sheep or horses.

Reducing the threat of nitrate toxicity.

To help reduce the incidence of nitrate toxicity in your grazing livestock, you can have your plants and soils sample tested to evaluate the condition of each, including the chemicals that are present. Additionally, you can have your soil tested prior to laying fertilizer to ensure that the right mix of compounds is used.

Pesticide Toxicity

When pesticides are used on crops and pasture, they can be effective at exterminating the bugs and rodents that threaten the vegetation, however, they also threaten the animals that eat the plants and the humans that eat either the plants or the animals that eat the plants. All pesticide — and caustic chemicals — are required to include a label that has recommended exposure times, where harvest and grazing times will differ. For animals that are simply trampling through areas where pesticides are used, 48 hours or a good water saturation is typically enough to make it relatively safe to walk through. However, when plants intended for consumption are grown or eaten in the area, the wait time may vary from 14 to 48 days.

Reducing the threat of pesticide poisoning.

To prevent livestock from experiencing problems due to pesticide exposure or ingestion, it is important to know what is in your pesticide. Additionally, you should heavily weight the risks versus benefits of using pesticides. If they are necessary for use on crops, you can keep your livestock safe by keeping them out of the area and foraging elsewhere. If you feed livestock silage harvested from the areas treated with pesticide, be sure to rinse the harvest free of chemicals before feeding it to livestock. Opt for pesticides that are safer for animals and humans, yet are still effective at controlling pest populations.

At Conroe Feeders, we have more than 20 years of experience with farm and pasture products including fertilizers and pesticides. Not only can we test your soil, free of charge, but we can recommend or make a product that will meet the needs of your pasture, crops, and livestock. We also carry quality livestock feed and a variety of other pasture and livestock supplies. For all of your farm supplies in Conroe, visit us online or stop on in today!