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Bitter Weed Is Toxic To Cattle, Goats

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By Mario Villarino DVM, Ph.D. Hopkins County Extension Agent for Ag and NR, [email protected]

As we move into our hot summer weather, several weeds that bloom with a yellow flower start to die off. During the spring, bitter weed, a common toxic plant for cattle and goats, has the tendency to cover pastureland. If left unattended, bitter weed has the tendency to cover complete paddocks.

The real problem with bitter weed is that from time to time it can be confused with other weeds that also have yellow blooms including dandelions and buttercups. Many people also use those names interchangeably depending of the region and years into farming.

As with many other toxic plants, bitter weed becomes more toxic after stress, releasing the toxic compounds into the animals that ingest it.  Recently, a pigmy goat rancher lost several animals due to yellow bloom plant toxicity in Miller Grove.

Because these plants are usually present for a long period of time and might look like grass before blooming, their numbers tent to creep up fast by the time you have noticed them.

The majority of these plants are not hard to kill, IF those are controlled when the weeds are young (or in rosette stage for dandelions) with a general herbicide. At times, a combination of products, including a root killing compound, can be beneficial if weeds have grown.

For more information on this or any agricultural topic please contact the Hopkins County Extension Office at 903-8853443.

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Author: Faith Huffman

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