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Beef Herd Health and Quality Assurance

All Beef Herd Health and Quality Assurance Content

herd of beef cattle grazing in a pasture

Beef

Home to more than 1 million head of cattle, South Dakota’s producers can rely on SDSU Extension for research-based information, best management practices and resources to support healthy and profitable herds.

Barn damaged by a windstorm.

Tetanus: A Storm Aftermath Problem for Animals

Of all the challenges faced by animal caretakers in the wake of damaging storms, Tetanus is a potentially serious disease that might not appear for days or weeks later. Learn some expert tips for recognizing, treating and preventing it.

Red angus cattle gathered in a feedlot in winter.

Livestock

South Dakota is home to a dynamic livestock industry.

From left: Meadow deathcamas in a South Dakota prairie rangeland. Silvery Lupine in a rangeland in South Dakota.

Poisonous Plants on Rangelands: Deathcamas and Lupine

With prolonged drought conditions throughout many areas of South Dakota, there is an increase of invasive weeds and poisonous plants on rangelands. Identification of poisonous plants is crucial to ensure livestock production is not compromised.

Low larkspur and twogrooved poisonvetch plants growing in rangeland.

Poisonous Plants on Rangelands: Larkspur and Poisonvetch

Larkspurs are the second leading cause for all livestock deaths from toxic plant poisoning. Poisonvetches are considered accumulator plants that uptake excessive levels of selenium and cause toxicity problems in cattle.

Two poisonous rangeland plants. Left: Woolly Locoweed.  Right: Lambert Crazyweed (Purple Locoweed).

Poisonous Plants on Rangelands: Locoweed and Crazyweed

Locoweed and crazyweed are found throughout South Dakota rangelands, and both can cause livestock poisoning.The names locoweed and crazyweed are often used interchangeably. However, there are notable differences between the species.

Three poisonous rangeland plants. From left: Hemlock, Halogeton and Buffalo Bur.

Poisonous Plants on Rangelands: Hemlock, Halogeton and Buffalo Bur

Several species of poisonous plants are invasive and can easily establish dense stands when there is a disturbance on rangelands. Hemlocks, halogeton and buffalo bur can all be found throughout South Dakota and are toxic to livestock.

Three woody plants. From left: Ponderosa pine tree, chokecherry bush and greasewood.

Poisonous Plants on Rangelands: Woody Species

Several woody plant species that are poisonous to livestock are found throughout South Dakota rangelands, including ponderosa pine, chokecherry, greasewood and broom snakeweed.

cattle grazing early spring pasture

Grass Tetany: Now Is the Time To Prepare

Grass tetany is a metabolic disorder associated with grazing lush, rapidly growing pastures. Learn the factors that influence its progression along with tips for preventing and managing it in herds.

Mother cow licking newborn calf in a pasture.

Calving Distribution Affects Herd Health

When the calving season is consolidated, nutritional requirements are more synchronous across the herd, and these benefits extend beyond improved feed management.