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Blue-green algae a concern for livestock as summer heat ramps up

With temperatures quickly rising, conditions are being met for one potentially deadly emergence in the dugouts and sloughs in pastures.

Blue-green algae is actually a bacteria, not an algae, and a concern for livestock since it can give off toxins as it dies.

Those toxins can cause severe health problems, and even kill any livestock that drinks from that water.

Jessica Smith, Regional Livestock & Feed Extension Specialist, explains just what the bacteria is looking for.

"It likes heat and it likes dugouts and water sources that are a little richer in nutrients, so sometimes sources that are in the runoff path, of fertilizer or manure and have a little extra nutrient in them, the algae really thrive in those environments too."

A method for finding out if your water has blue-green algae is known as the finger test.

"Blue-green algae is a little different from regular algae in that it isn't strand-like. so one of the things you can do is the finger test where you can scoop your hands through the water and if it was blue-green algae it would flow through your hands with the water," said Smith, "If it was regular algae it would kind of catch and hang on your fingers."

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