fescue toxicity and losing tails

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angus9259
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fescue toxicity and losing tails

Postby angus9259 » Mon May 14, 2018 3:49 pm

So I'm still trying to figure out why I lose so many tail switches in the summer (and one ear to date). I'm in Michigan so you don't hear much about fescue but the symptoms sure seem to indicate losing circulation. I've included some pics of pasture grasses in my field that look to be fescue but here are a couple interesting points:

1. When they seed, the seed doesn't look like fescue
2. They rarely get above calf height in my fields because I rotationally graze and brushhog after each rotation to knock anything down still standing which seems to imply that I would never have any of the fescue seed that holds the ergot.

Thoughts?
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Re: fescue toxicity and losing tails

Postby ALACOWMAN » Mon May 14, 2018 4:16 pm

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Re: fescue toxicity and losing tails

Postby angus9259 » Mon May 14, 2018 6:16 pm



Helpful to know that ergot is not just a fescue issue. That's probably the real culprit than anyway because some of my grasses seed at very low heights unlike fescue.
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Re: fescue toxicity and losing tails

Postby Kjfred » Mon May 14, 2018 9:26 pm

Hard to tell from the picture but reminds me of brome also
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Re: fescue toxicity and losing tails

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Tue May 15, 2018 10:07 am

Are you losing them now or mid summer? Could it be from getting frozen in the winter? I have lost tail & ears - but from freezing.
I had a lot of brome grass in Kansas and never had any problem with it.
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Re: fescue toxicity and losing tails

Postby angus9259 » Tue May 15, 2018 5:31 pm

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:Are you losing them now or mid summer? Could it be from getting frozen in the winter? I have lost tail & ears - but from freezing.
I had a lot of brome grass in Kansas and never had any problem with it.


Summer - on pasture. Sometimes the hair itself falls off what looks like a scabby dead stump - othertimes the switch is just there one day and gone the next. I know the theory of cows stepping on them, but I'll be 20% of my herd has no switch.
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Re: fescue toxicity and losing tails

Postby angus9259 » Tue May 15, 2018 5:37 pm

Here's a picture of one I took in late summer. Yearling going bad.


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Re: fescue toxicity and losing tails

Postby TCRanch » Tue May 15, 2018 5:46 pm

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:Are you losing them now or mid summer? Could it be from getting frozen in the winter? I have lost tail & ears - but from freezing.
I had a lot of brome grass in Kansas and never had any problem with it.

We bale our brome but let the weanlings graze one of the fields from appx Nov-Jan. Never had a problem. But good to know!
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Re: fescue toxicity and losing tails

Postby angus9259 » Tue May 15, 2018 8:00 pm

TCRanch wrote:
Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:Are you losing them now or mid summer? Could it be from getting frozen in the winter? I have lost tail & ears - but from freezing.
I had a lot of brome grass in Kansas and never had any problem with it.

We bale our brome but let the weanlings graze one of the fields from appx Nov-Jan. Never had a problem. But good to know!


Not sure that's the problem. Just can't figure out what the problem is. Vet says it looks like ergot fescue poisoning he would see in MO. Doesn't see much in Michigan or with pastures as short as I keep mine. But I don't have a clue.
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Re: fescue toxicity and losing tails

Postby ALACOWMAN » Tue May 15, 2018 8:41 pm

Just wondering.are you still feeding any hay?? Is it local hay?
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Re: fescue toxicity and losing tails

Postby angus9259 » Wed May 16, 2018 5:01 am

ALACOWMAN wrote:Just wondering.are you still feeding any hay?? Is it local hay?



Hay is all local. Not feeding hay after about May 1. I lose switches on pasture.
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Re: fescue toxicity and losing tails

Postby Dogs and Cows » Wed May 16, 2018 7:49 am

I will say, if it is Ergot in the brome you should see it in the seed heads...if it is from the Claviceps species of fungus...looks like mouse poop.

Tim
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Re: fescue toxicity and losing tails

Postby gdale » Sun May 20, 2018 10:36 am

Thought I'd share some pics of a cow we had several years ago that started showing signs of ergot poisoning. We didn't know what it was until the vet came to bangs vaccinate heifers in February and we asked him to take a look at a 'sick' cow we had. Turned out to be ergot poisoning. Ears, nose, eyes, tail, feet, neck, and even upper legs all showed classic signs of sloughing. She calved in April and we took the calf off and then sold her. The calf also showed some subtle signs of ergot poisoning himself, but we managed to raise him on a milk cow and he did okay.
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Re: fescue toxicity and losing tails

Postby sim.-ang.king » Sun May 20, 2018 11:51 am

Keep your pasture clipped so the grass doesn't make seed heads, see if that helps.
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Re: fescue toxicity and losing tails

Postby TCRanch » Sun May 20, 2018 6:49 pm

gdale wrote:Thought I'd share some pics of a cow we had several years ago that started showing signs of ergot poisoning. We didn't know what it was until the vet came to bangs vaccinate heifers in February and we asked him to take a look at a 'sick' cow we had. Turned out to be ergot poisoning. Ears, nose, eyes, tail, feet, neck, and even upper legs all showed classic signs of sloughing. She calved in April and we took the calf off and then sold her. The calf also showed some subtle signs of ergot poisoning himself, but we managed to raise him on a milk cow and he did okay.
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Holy cow! Thanks for sharing.
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