Cyanide and Nitrate in Forage

As frosts and freezes move south across Texas, common annual questions from producers always come regarding potential for prussic acid (cyanide) and nitrate in forages.

The attached info (outline below) has been submitted for publishing in this month’s AgriLife Extension “Texas Row Crops Newsletter,”

Calvin Trostle

Extension agronomist, D-2/Lubbock

Prussic Acid and Nitrate in Forages, Especially Sorghums

Prussic acid (cyanide)

  • Is prussic acid that big a deal?  I have heard cattle can handle it.
  • Does hybrid pearl millet develop prussic acid?

Nitrates in sorghums and other forages

  • AgriLife Extension’s “Nitrates and Prussic Acid in Forages,” E-543

Testing for Prussic Acid and Nitrate in Forages

  • Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab recommended for prussic acid test, testing instructions in TVMDL’s “Cyanide and Nitrate in Forages

Bottom Line–Knowing how to best protect animal health

  • A case study–Snyder, TX, 2002

For additional reading–United Sorghum Checkoff Program Info./Dr. Brent Bean

21-11Nov03 S&CS Sorghums & Forages–Prussic.Nitrate Poisons


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