High levels of nitrate in oat hay feed can be toxic to cattle.

High levels of nitrate in oat hay feed can be toxic to cattle.

Farm and Ranch Guide

High levels of nitrate in feed can be toxic to cattle, a North Dakota State University Extension livestock expert warns. Nitrate interferes with the oxygen-carrying capacity of the animals’ blood, which can result in abortions and sudden death. “Oat hay is known as a feed prone to accumulate nitrates when grown under environmental stress,” says John Dhuyvetter, Extension livestock systems specialist at the North Central Research Extension Center near Minot, N.D. “It also responds well in growth and yield to nitrogen fertilizer, which contributes to elevated nitrates.”

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