Test to prevent nitrate and prussic acid poisoning

Many Kansas cattle operations rely on some type of harvested feed to use in the winter months and common among those sources is forage sorghum, millets, sorghum-sudangrass, and sudan. Forages in the sorghum family are prone to two different problems for feeding cattle, nitrate poisoning and prussic acid (hydrocyanic acid, HCN) poisoning. Millet (proso and pearl) do not contain prussic acid but can have nitrates. Prussic acid and nitrate poisoning are easy to get confused because both result in a lack of oxygen availability to the animal and are more likely to occur when the plant is stressed (fertility, hail, drought).

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