BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — NDSU would like to remind farmers and ranchers to take care and to be on the lookout for prussic acid in their plants.
According to the NDSU extension office, prussic acid is a potent, rapidly-acting poison that is commonly associated with plant regrowth following the first autumn frost. Signs of prussic acid poisoning can occur within 15 to 20 minutes to a few hours after animals ingest the toxic forage.
“When you have a plant go through stress from freezing,” explains NDSU Extension Agent Tyler Kralicek, “those prussic acid levels keep rising. Now, if it’s a really short plant, where it’s only a couple inches off of the ground, the potency is going to be a little bit higher. If it’s a plant that’s really tall, your chances of having those animals with prussic acid poisoning are going to be more minimal just because the plant’s higher, and they have less access to where the prussic acid is going to be at its highest concentration. Prussic acid is one thing that we need to be aware of when discussing frost from a livestock producers perspective.”
When livestock losses occur and prussic acid poisoning is suspected, it heavily advised that those who believe their own herds have been affected contact their veterinarians immediately, and send and suspect foliage to a diagnostic lab for analysis. All forages should be changed and all animal should be moved from pastures where poisoning is believed to have taken place until study results are returned.