Ranchers are being urged to pay attention to the nitrate levels in the animal feed they're giving their cattle, because drought-stressed plants harvested as feed ingredients may contain dangerous levels of nitrates, according to University extension officials in Kansas and Missouri.


Extension agents said they have been receiving reports of cattle succumbing to what appears to be nitrate poisoning. "We need to have everyone watch their cattle," said Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist for the University of Missouri Extension. "It's still early. There is a lot of that kind of high-nitrate feed that is still sitting in the barn and in fence rows and bale yards that we will be seeing feed on into the winter."