toxic grasses galore

Discuss grasses and how to grow and harvest them.
angus9259
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toxic grasses galore

Postby angus9259 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:07 am

I've been doing some research on johnsongrass - seems like you don't know it's a problem till you have a dead cow. Fella up the street has some johnson grass hay for sale. From what I read if it was put up right, your fine. If not, nitrate and cyanide poisoning are still possible. Then I have to decide if I want to seed my fields with his johnsongrass. Shocking about Johnsongrass is they are dead in minutes. No time to react.

So I've been researching what to frost seed this coming spring into a worn out pasture. I looked at rye - anyone ever heard of rye toxicity that results when rye get's infected with a certain fungus? Seems like that's a death sentence too.

I don't mind managing pasture to maintain nutritive soundness, but the lethality of "normal" pasture grasses is beginning to be a bit unnerving.

What can a fella plant that won't become potentially toxic at some point?
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Re: toxic grasses galore

Postby Red Bull Breeder » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:23 am

Johnson grass isn't that bad to deal with. The prussic acid is not a problem in Johnson grass hay.
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Re: toxic grasses galore

Postby Kingfisher » Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:09 pm

What are good producers in your area growing? I doubt it's JG
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angus9259
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Re: toxic grasses galore

Postby angus9259 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:35 pm

Kingfisher wrote:What are good producers in your area growing? I doubt it's JG


Funny you should say. I just saw a truckload of rounds on craiglist that the guy planted a pasture mix which included Johnsongrass. Mostly you see timothy and alfalfa or blends. Some rye.

The idea of johnsongrass hay doesn't bother me so much as seeding my pastures with johnsongrass and then having to manage frosts and droughts.
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Re: toxic grasses galore

Postby 5S Cattle » Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:53 pm

angus9259 wrote:
Kingfisher wrote:What are good producers in your area growing? I doubt it's JG


Funny you should say. I just saw a truckload of rounds on craiglist that the guy planted a pasture mix which included Johnsongrass. Mostly you see timothy and alfalfa or blends. Some rye.

The idea of johnsongrass hay doesn't bother me so much as seeding my pastures with johnsongrass and then having to manage frosts and droughts.

It's really not a big deal unless there's just a lot of it. When I turn my cattle into new pastures that's the first grass they eat. So odds are, there won't be enough grass left for them to get sick off of when a drought or frost comes
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Re: toxic grasses galore

Postby callmefence » Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:10 pm

angus9259 wrote:I've been doing some research on johnsongrass - seems like you don't know it's a problem till you have a dead cow. Fella up the street has some johnson grass hay for sale. From what I read if it was put up right, your fine. If not, nitrate and cyanide poisoning are still possible. Then I have to decide if I want to seed my fields with his johnsongrass. Shocking about Johnsongrass is they are dead in minutes. No time to react.

So I've been researching what to frost seed this coming spring into a worn out pasture. I looked at rye - anyone ever heard of rye toxicity that results when rye get's infected with a certain fungus? Seems like that's a death sentence too.

I don't mind managing pasture to maintain nutritive soundness, but the lethality of "normal" pasture grasses is beginning to be a bit unnerving.

What can a fella plant that won't become potentially toxic at some point?



No offense Angus buy you need to do more research. Prussic acid is of zero concern in hay. Both it and nitrates are very predictable and easily managed
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Re: toxic grasses galore

Postby ClodHopper37869 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:01 pm

opps I messed up, How can you delete a double post
Last edited by ClodHopper37869 on Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: toxic grasses galore

Postby ClodHopper37869 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:02 pm

If Jgrass was as toxic as some would have you believe, cattle would be extinct in some areas of the South...
Several grasses can be toxic under certain conditions. I would bet that K31 Fescue causes more problems than Jgrass.
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Re: toxic grasses galore

Postby sim.-ang.king » Sun Aug 27, 2017 6:36 pm

All grasses can become toxic, but not all do it regularly like others.
As Long as you know what the toxins are, and how to manage them, there really isn't a threat.
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Re: toxic grasses galore

Postby OklaBrangusBreeder » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:36 pm

I have a 50 acre hayfield that I bale for my own needs as well as for sale. I'd say it's 60% Johnson Grass, 40% Bermuda grass. I usually get 250 to 300 bales a year off it.

I have never had any issues with baling the Johnson grass. The two rules the old timers taught me were not to bale it after a prolonged draught and not to bale it after a freeze. If you heed those two rules, you'll never have a problem with JG hay...
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Re: toxic grasses galore

Postby Bigfoot » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:07 pm

I'd be out of business without Johnson grass.
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Re: toxic grasses galore

Postby Texasmark » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:19 pm

Somewhere I read on only one case of toxic hay was recorded and it wasn't JG or SS, it was something benign and I'm thinking it was Bermuda. Don't remember the details and don't know any verification process for the claim. I do know this. As Clodhopper and Bigfoot attested, would be a lot of dead cows lying around here, not from PA, but from starvation. Been here 40 years and never have I heard of a case of PA poisoning locally and we suffered through 5 years of drought that ended about 3 years ago and plant and harvest plenty of Coastal, JG and SS.
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Re: toxic grasses galore

Postby callmefence » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:45 pm

OklaBrangusBreeder wrote:I have a 50 acre hayfield that I bale for my own needs as well as for sale. I'd say it's 60% Johnson Grass, 40% Bermuda grass. I usually get 250 to 300 bales a year off it.

I have never had any issues with baling the Johnson grass. The two rules the old timers taught me were not to bale it after a prolonged draught and not to bale it after a freeze. If you heed those two rules, you'll never have a problem with JG hay...


I would like to add
Key word if after.. you can graze during drought
When it's wilted and looks like shyt. Just fine.
It's for about a week after you get rain you must be careful
A hard frost that kills it dead is fine
The warm spell after light frost is a time to be careful.
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Re: toxic grasses galore

Postby Texasmark » Wed Sep 20, 2017 4:46 pm

callmefence wrote:
OklaBrangusBreeder wrote:I have a 50 acre hayfield that I bale for my own needs as well as for sale. I'd say it's 60% Johnson Grass, 40% Bermuda grass. I usually get 250 to 300 bales a year off it.

I have never had any issues with baling the Johnson grass. The two rules the old timers taught me were not to bale it after a prolonged draught and not to bale it after a freeze. If you heed those two rules, you'll never have a problem with JG hay...


I would like to add
Key word if after.. you can graze during drought
When it's wilted and looks like shyt. Just fine.
It's for about a week after you get rain you must be careful
A hard frost that kills it dead is fine
The warm spell after light frost is a time to be careful.


Ditto on that. Kinda fuzzy, but as I recall it shows up as a white powder that you can scrape off a leaf with your thumb and fore finger......a test you do before turning in animals when PA is suspect. The other thing is volume per animal. I read the numbers long time ago and forget, maybe from TAMU EX. Serv. but offering a variety of grasses along with PA infected plants cuts down on your risk.
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Re: toxic grasses galore

Postby BK9954 » Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:16 pm

If there is prussic acid I read a while back it is supposed to go away a while after it is baled. I don't feed Johnson grass just because my place is "almost" Johnson grass free. Just a few more places to spray. There is a documented case of dead cattle on a pasture of tifton that had prussic acid. Most guys here grow haygrazer, Klein, coastal, tifton-85 or just bale the native grass or medio. I don't like coastal, haven't found any local worth a darn so haygrazer is my hay of choice, haven't had any much lower then 10% protien.
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