Mitigation of Larkspur Poisoning on Rangelands Through the Selection of Cattle

Green, Benedict T.
Welch, Kevin D.
Pfister, James A.
Society for Range Management
Publication Year: 
Larkspurs (Delphinium spp.) are poisonous plants that negatively impact the earning potential of beef producers in many western rangelands of North America. If ranchers are unfortunate enough to have large stands of toxic larkspur (both tall and low lark- spurs) in their pastures, yearly herd mortality can be as high as 10%. Across the western United States, this results in an- nual economic losses of millions of dollars in animal deaths, increased management and treatment costs, and, if animals are deferred from grazing, the underutilization of otherwise highly nutritious pastures and rangelands. The quality of the ranges where larkspur grow cannot be overemphasized. Stocker cattle grazing on larkspur rangeland can gain up- wards of 2.5 pounds per day or more. Furthermore, at the rst signs of poisoning many producers move cattle off this high-quality rangeland and leave valuable forage unused. The purpose of this article is to provide a brief review of basic information about larkspur and larkspur poisoning in cattle, and to describe recent research providing evidence that cattle can be selected for resistance to larkspur poisoning.DOI: 10.2458/azu_rangelands_v35i6_green
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
Society for Range Management

Rangelands, a publication of the Society for Range Management, serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of facts, ideas, and philosophies pertaining to the study, management, and use of rangelands. The journal features scientific and historical articles as well as Society news. It provides readers with scientifically accurate information in a user-friendly format, placed in context of the world we live in today. Rangelands is a practical (non-technical) counterpart of Rangeland Ecology & Management (formerly the Journal of Range Management). The Global Rangelands collection includes articles from Rangelands up to 3 years from the current year. Access to more recent content is available by subscription from BioOne and the Society for Range Management and may also be available at your local university library. 
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