Mo. cattle die after eating drought-stressed grass

MOUNT VERNON, Mo. (AP) - Missouri agriculture officials are receiving reports of cattle dying after grazing on drought-stressed grass.

The University of Missouri Extension service says the problem is johnsongrass. During droughts like this year's, it can accumulate dangerous levels of nitrates and prussic acid.

Extension livestock specialist Eldon Cole said in a news release that grazing deaths have been reported in the past couple of months in southwest Missouri. Those cases largely involved dead cows or yearlings found near johnsongrass.

A couple of times, cattle fell ill after rushing through open gates as hay bales were being hauled into pastures. The cattle then ate johnsongrass growing along roadsides.

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