Producers are facing another challenge: Hay quality and availability

A cattle producer in southwest Missouri is warning other ranchers to test their hay after their season of an ongoing drought.

Kristina Callison works at the Fire Sweep Ranch and says a recent purchase of 30 local bales tested positive for nitrates higher than two percent, which is a level that cannot be diluted.

While the ranch did not lose any cattle after feeding it, she says they will be monitoring those animals closely as foods high in nitrates can cause pregnant cows to miscarriage.

Lorrie Boyer with KSIR Radio says this is a warning that all ranchers need to take seriously.

“The fact that nitrate toxicity and Pristiq acid are appearing in the grain right now, that’s being harvested for the livestock, they’re encouraging definitely doing testing to make sure that it’s not occurring in a feeding. If it is, to make sure you are mixing it with low-toxicity seed. So that is something that farmers and ranchers need to be aware of right now.”

Hay tests can range between $20-$30 a piece, but can help producers create cost-smart feeding programs.

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