Poisonous Plants on Rangelands

Poisonous plants are a major cause of economic loss to the livestock industry. Each year poisonous plants adversely affect 3-5% of the cattle, sheep, and horses that graze western rangelands.

There are many causes of livestock losses including if: 

  • Animals graze infested rangelands when plants are most toxic.
  • Animals are driven, trailed through, or unloaded from trucks onto rangeland or pasture areas infested with poisonous plants.
  • Animals are not watered regularly or are allowed to become hungry, making them more likely to eat lethal quantities of poisonous plants.
  • Animals are allowed to graze in heavy stands of plants that are highly poisonous.
  • Animals are grazed on rangelands early in the spring when there is no other vegetation except poisonous plants.

Explore more resources about Poisonous Plants on Rangelands:


Poisonous Plants – USDA ARS