Home / Crops / Feeding cover crops? Test for nitrates first

Feeding cover crops? Test for nitrates first

Jeff Caldwell 09/09/2011 @ 12:30pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Hay supplies are tight going into this fall. But, if you plant cover crops, you could be sitting on a potential feed source. Just make sure you're not doing more harm than good. A lot of common cover crops can sometimes be hazardous to herd health.

“Crops such as forage and grain sorghum, sudangrass, hybrid sorghum-sudan, and pearl millet are notorious nitrate accumulators. Canola and other brassica species, such as radishes and turnips, take up nitrogen effectively and can accumulate dangerous concentrations of nitrates,” says Kansas State University (K-State) Research and Extension crop production scientist Kraig Roozenboom.

Excessive nitrate uptake in cattle can lead to asphyxiation because it hinders the blood's ability to carry oxygen, says K-State Extension animal scientist Dale Blasi. That makes it important to test any of these crops, especially radishes and turnip tops, for nitrates before feeding them to livestock. That's even more important in drier-than-normal summer growing seasons like this one.

“The potential for high nitrate concentrations in crops such as sorghum, brassicas, cereal grains, corn, and some grasses occurs after exposure to drought, hail, frost, cloudy weather, or soil fertility imbalance,” Roozeboom adds.

CancelPost Comment

Hot Penny Stocks 10/31/2011 @ 7:36am Thanks a lot for sharing this most useful blog post for all. good job, Carry on.Hot Stocks

Report Abuse Reply
MORE FROM JEFF CALDWELL more +

Cutting Postharvest Grain Losses in Brazil a… By: 08/29/2014 @ 10:06am There's growing talk in parts of the central U.S. that once the combines start to roll this…

Drought Continues to Hammer California;… By: 08/28/2014 @ 10:27am John Steinbeck and Sonora Babb painted vivid pictures of the Dust Bowl in their novels The Grapes…

Another Rough Winter? Farmers' Almanac… By: 08/27/2014 @ 7:30am Not again! A year ago, the Farmers' Almanac, which has been around for almost two centuries…

MEDIA CENTERmore +
This container should display a .swf file. If not, you may need to upgrade your Flash player.
Put Rolls Sending Bearish Signals