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Nitrate Concerns Following A Frost

Livestock producers are being reminded about the dangers of nitrate accumulation following a frost.
 
When cattle consume feed with nitrates it's converted to nitrite, which is then absorbed into the blood stream inhibiting its ability to carry oxygen causing the animal to suffocate.
 
Saskatchewan Livestock and Feed Extension Specialist, Catherine Lang says producers will want to cut the cereal crop or greenfeed as soon as possible following a frost, where the silage was taken off in July and the regrowth is actively growing.
 
"The most ideal time would be to cut within 24 hours, at most 48 as those nitrates start to peak at that three to four a day mark. So, the sooner you can cut it the better since your risk of having nitrates is low, at 48 hours there's going to be some there and by longer than that, that's when it's going to start to peak."
 
She notes there's not as much concern with a stunting frost, where the temperature hits about -2 for a short period of time, since there is a chance for the plants to regrow.
 
Overall, she recommends producers get a feed test done so they know the amount of nitrates in that feed, adding they can help producers to blend it out and so they can use the feed safely.
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