South Dakota ranks sixth nationally in sheep and wool production. And the industry is growing.
All Sheep Health Content
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.
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.
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.
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.
Several woody plant species that are poisonous to livestock are found throughout South Dakota rangelands, including ponderosa pine, chokecherry, greasewood and broom snakeweed.
Sheep and goat producers in the upper Midwest rely on annual lamb or kid crops to maintain economic viability. Reduction in the lamb or kid crop due to abortion (premature birth) and stillbirths are a common occurrence on many farms. Some of these problems have implications for human health as well as animal 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.
Cool, damp weather followed by warmer temperatures favors grasses becoming infected with ergot bodies, which can cause a certain kind of poisoning that can affect cattle on pasture.
Proper newborn lamb care is a critical component of flock profitability. In the U.S. lamb mortality from all causes is approximately 20% with more than 80% of those losses occurring in the first two-weeks following lambing.