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A group of brown cattle foraging in a green field.

Prussic Acid Poisoning

As the first frost date approaches, producers often have concerns about the risk of prussic acid poisoning in livestock. Certain forage plants, especially sorghums and related species are associated with an increased risk of death loss because of prussic acid poisoning.

A herd of sheep foraging on leafy spurge in a grassland.

Multi-Species Grazing as an Alternative to Pasture Spraying

Broadacre spraying of pastures is intended to reduce undesirable plants and increase grasses for livestock. This practice often results in unintended consequences, including damage and reduction of native forbs and reduced profitability. One approach to managing perceived “weedy” plants is incorporating different species of livestock into a grazing operation.

A patch of western wheatgrass with ergot fungus growing throughout.

Ergot in Western Wheatgrass and the Potential Effects for Winter Grazing

2019 has been a year fraught with challenges for ranchers across South Dakota. Abundant precipitation is usually a blessing, however, wet conditions coupled with a cool spring followed by warmer temperatures has caused another problem across the rangelands of South Dakota: ergot poisoning.

A stock pond with algae blooms developing throughout.

How Important Is Water Quality to Livestock?

Water is the most important nutrient to all livestock animals and is sometimes overlooked. Poor quality water can have a negative effect on growth, reproduction, and general productivity of the animal.

A rancher inspecting the water quality of a small stock pond.

How Do Sulfates in Water Affect Livestock Health?

Poor-quality water will cause an animal to drink less. As a result, they also consume less forage and feed, which leads to weight loss, decreased milk production and lower fertility.

Two dandelions side by side. The left has a bee foraging on it. The right has a hover fly foraging on it..

Why Those Dandelions in Your Yard Aren’t So Bad

While research has shown that pollinators, specifically honey bees, can’t survive on dandelion pollen alone, this doesn’t mean that the dandelions aren’t still important for pollinators.

Mosquito with darker coloration and mosquito with white band on proboscis.

Know Your West Nile Virus Vectors

In some areas of South Dakota, recent precipitation has led to an increase in mosquito activity. To reduce the chances of contracting West Nile Virus, it is important to understand the behavior of the mosquitos capable of vectoring it.

Small black fly on pale skin.

Monitor Livestock, Pets and Yourself for Eye Gnat Activity

While being outside this week, I noticed a lot of small gnats flying around my legs and really bothering my dogs. I caught a few and identified them as eye gnats. Although this pest is considered a nuisance in most cases, it is capable of transmitting diseases and pathogens.

Grassland with a large amount of dried brush and fuel for burning.

Removing Young Trees From Grasslands Will Save Money and Effort

Volunteer trees can hinder the development of desirable wildlife habitat and livestock resources. Early control of volunteer woody species is the simplest and most cost-effective option for maintaining open grassland habitats.

A shlterbelt near a grassland with several volunteer trees growing in it.

Removing Mature Shelterbelts From Grasslands

Under what circumstances would removal of mature shelterbelts be warranted? This is a common question often asked in wildlife and conservation circles.