• Alkaloids as anti-quality factors in plants on western U.S. rangelands

      Pfister, J. A.; Panter, K. E.; Gardner, D. R.; Stegelmeier, B. L.; Ralphs, M. H.; Molyneux, R. J.; Lee, S. T. (Society for Range Management, 2001-07-01)
      Alkaloids constitute the largest class of plant secondary compounds, occurring in 20 to 30% of perennial herbaceous species in North America. Alkaloid-containing plants are of interest, first because alkaloids often have pronounced physiological reactions when ingested by livestock, and second because alkaloids have distinctive taste characteristics. Thus, alkaloids may kill, injure, or reduce productivity of livestock, and have the potential to directly or indirectly alter diet selection. We review 7 major categories of toxic alkaloids, including pyrrolizidine (e.g., Senecio), quinolizidine (e.g., Lupinus), indolizidine (e.g., Astragalus), diterpenoid (e.g., Delphinium), piperidine (e.g., Conium), pyridine (e.g., Nicotiana), and steroidal (Veratrum-type) alkaloids. Clinically, effects on animal production vary from minimal feed refusal to abortion, birth defects, wasting diseases, agalactia, and death. There are marked species differences in reactions to alkaloids. This has been attributed to rumen metabolism, alkaloid absorption, metabolism, excretion or directly related to their affinity to target tissues such as binding at receptor sites. In spite of alkaloids reputed bitter taste to livestock, some alkaloid-containing plant genera (e.g., Delphinium, Veratrum, Astragalus, Oxytropis, and Lupinus) are often readily ingested by livestock. Management schemes to prevent losses are usually based on recognizing the particular toxic plant, knowing the mechanism of toxicity, and understanding the temporal dynamics of plant alkaloid concentration and consumption by livestock. Once these aforementioned aspects are understood, losses may be reduced by maintaining optimal forage conditions, adjusting grazing pressure and timing of grazing, aversive conditioning, strategic supplementation, changing livestock species, and herbicidal control.
    • Cattle use of foothills rangeland near dehydrated molasses supplement

      Bailey, D. W.; Welling, G. R.; Miller, E. T. (Society for Range Management, 2001-07-01)
      Strategic supplement placement has been shown to be an effective tool to lure cattle to underutilized rangeland. The goal of this study was to determine where cattle grazed when supplement was placed in foothills rangeland. The study was conducted in 4 pastures in northern Montana that were dominated by cool-season grasses. For 2-week periods beginning in October 1998 and ending in January 1999, dehydrated molasses blocks (30% CP) were placed in locations within 3 pastures that were steeper and further from water. Forage utilization was measured at the time of supplement placement and again at removal. Increases in forage utilization during each period (14%) were similar (P > 0.1) at distances of 30 to 600 m from supplement, and increases were additive across periods. Forage utilization was evaluated in a fourth pasture during August and September 1999 at distances of 50 to 3,000 m from the supplement. Forage use declined (P < 0.01) at further distances from supplement, and forage use at distances less than 600 to 800 m from supplement was greater than the average of all measurements collected throughout the pasture. During the autumn and early winter at the 2 pastures located near Havre, Mont., 53% of the cows were observed within 600 m of supplement and 47% were observed at greater distances from supplement. Eighty-one of the 159 cows grazing the 2 pastures near Havre (245 and 330 ha) were fitted with Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking collars. The collared cows spent 37% of their time within 600 m of supplement. Uniformity of cattle grazing can be enhanced by the placement of dehydrated molasses supplement in rugged topography, and the area influenced can include distances up to 600 m from supplement.
    • Practical measures for reducing risk of alfalfa bloat in cattle

      Majak, W.; Hall, J. W.; McAllister, T. A. (Society for Range Management, 2001-07-01)
      Frothy bloat in cattle is a serious problem and is difficult to manage under field conditions as it progresses rapidly from early signs of distension to acute distress. Scientists at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada centres in Western Canada are committed to the development of bloat-free alfalfa grazing systems, which may require feed additives or supplements. As well, a new cultivar of alfalfa (AC Grazeland), selected for a low initial rate of digestion, will soon be available. In grazing trials the cultivar reduced the incidence of bloat by an average of 56% compared with the control cultivar (Beaver). Commonly accepted mineral mixes for the prevention of bloat were tested and found ineffective but we have confirmed that poloxalene (Bloatguard®) is 100% effective if it is given intraruminally at the prescribed dose. However, under practical conditions, poloxalene can only be offered free choice and protection from bloat cannot be guaranteed. We have also shown that the water soluble polymer, Blocare® 4511, when used in the water supply is 100% effective in bloat prevention. This product is not yet registered in North America. Other strategies for bloat prevention will be discussed, including the selection of growth stages and grazing schedules, and the reduction of risk by wilting alfalfa or combining it with tannin-containing forages.