Nitrate Poisoning and Feeding Nitrate Feeds to Livestock

While nitrates (N03) are not very toxic, nitrites (N02) are toxic. In ruminant animals such as cattle, sheep and goats, nitrate is converted to nitrite by bacteria in the rumen. This nitrite is then changed to ammonia. Excess ammonia is absorbed by the blood and passed in the urine as urea. This occurs when the nitrate breakdown system is in balance and no surplus of nitrites accumulate. In contrast, monogastric animals such as horses and pigs, convert nitrate to nitrite in the intestine, closer to the end of the digestive tract, where there is less opportunity for the nitrites to be absorbed by the blood. It is this difference in the site of conversion that makes nitrate poisoning of much l

Forages & Grasslands: How They Contribute to the Preservation of Biodiversity

In the earliest theoretical literature on market economy, land is often cited as the only real source of wealth as it was the sole element in the equation that yielded a lot more than what it took in. Former President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt was once quoted as saying: “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself.” How we manage land today still remains one of the most important issues in maintaining our ability to cultivate it and continue to produce food for the ever growing population. In managing the land, however, less can be more, as in the case of forages and grasslands. As the modern agricultural practices involve quite a number of mechanical and chemical inp

Native Forages Offer Resilience Against Mother Nature

Native forages are making a comeback with cattle feeders who are looking for a way to work with — not against — Mother Nature. “Native species complement tame forages,” said federal research scientist Alan Iwaasa. “When used with tame species, native species have merit and can be used quite effectively if you have the land base in our grazing systems in Western Canada.” Native species make for “a more sustainable and resilient forage,” but are sometimes taken for granted, Iwaasa said during a Beef Cattle Research Council webinar. “The remaining western grasslands for Canada is estimated to be only about 11.4 million hec
tares, compared to around 61.5 million hectares we used to have (in 1995

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