(Purdue Agriculture photo/Travis Legleiter)
Poison hemlock is toxic when ingested by livestock. Purdue Extension experts urge producers to monitor their pastures and kill the weeds as early in the life cycle as possible.
Livestock producers should watch for, control poison hemlock
While poison hemlock isn’t likely to be as prominent a problem this year as it was in last year’s drought-stressed pastures, Purdue Extension specialists still encourage livestock producers to be on the lookout for the toxic plant.
Poison hemlock is often found along roadsides, edges of cultivated fields, stream banks and pasture fencerows. Its most defining characteristics are purple spots or blotches on the plant’s hairless, ridged stems. If eaten, all parts of the plant can be fatally toxic to cattle, horses, swine, sheep and goats.
“If there is adequate pasture growth, poison hemlock isn’t as big a deal because animals typically won’t eat it unless it’s all they have, but livestock producers still need to be on the lookout for it and think about how to control it,” said Ron Lemenager, Purdue Extension beef specialist. “They also need to be especially cautious when making hay.”
Control methods are most effective when applied at an early plant growth stage, said Travis Legleiter, Purdue Extension weed scientist.
“Farmers need to look for it before it’s bolted, or flowered, when it’s low-growing,” he said.
Poison hemlock has a two-year life cycle, and herbicides work best when applied early in the first year of growth, when plants are newly emerged.
The most common herbicides used to control the weed in pastures are growth regulators, such as 2,4-D, dicamba or a combination of 2,4-D and tryclopyr, said Bill Johnson, Purdue Extension weed scientist.
“What producers have to remember is that most pastures are mixes of grasses and legumes and these pesticides will damage legumes,” he said. “Most of the time we have to sacrifice the legumes to control the poison hemlock, then come back and reseed the legumes.”
Animals that ingest poison hemlock will start to show symptoms within an hour. Symptoms start with nervousness and can progress to respiratory paralysis within two to three hours. If pregnant animals consume the plant between days 55-75 of gestation it could result in birth defects.
Treatment is available for poisoned animals, but requires a veterinarian and that the animal be treated immediately.
Poison hemlock also can be found in agronomic crop fields but is more of a nuisance than anything, Johnson said.
“Poison hemlock invades no-till corn and soybean fields,” he said. “Herbicides that have activity on this weed and that can be used before planting soybeans are 2,4-D, dicamba and glyphosate. Dicamba and glyphosate have shown slightly better efficacy than 2,4-D. The best overall control in an early spring burndown would likely be attained with a mixture of glyphosate and dicamba.”
More information about this toxic weed in both pastures and crop fields can be found in the Purdue Extension Weed Science publication “Poison Hemlock - The Toxic Parsnip,” which is available for free download at http://www.btny.purdue.edu/weedscience/2003/articles/PHemlock03.pdf
- Rushville Republican
(Purdue Agriculture photo/Travis Legleiter)
- Purdue Extension workshops to focus on pest management WEST LAFAYETTE - Purdue Extension's Pest Management Program will offer a series of Crop Management workshops at five Indiana locations in January. Workshop presentations are chosen based on the previous cropping year and new technologies, and they fo
- ASA announces 2014 officers and committee assignments ST. LOUIS - The Board of Directors of the American Soybean Association (ASA) has confirmed Ray Gaesser from Corning, Iowa, as its newest President, and has moved outgoing President Danny Murphy from Canton, Miss., to the position of Chairman. Board m
- Purdue, Ohio State partner to help farmers control marestail WEST LAFAYETTE - Purdue and Ohio State University Extension have partnered to publish a new fact sheet aimed at helping farmers battle herbicide-resistant marestail and its yield-reducing affects on soybeans. Marestail, also referred to as horseweed,
- Corn crops expected to set record, but not as large as anticipated WEST LAFAYETTE - The U.S. corn crop is projected to reach record production this year but won't be quite as large as initially expected because heavy spring rain in parts of the country prevented some acres from being planted, according to the U.S. D
- Gwinnup retirement open house announced Deanna Gwinnup will be retiring after 31 years of service at the Rush/Shelby Farm Service Agency. An open house will be held in her honor from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 26 at the Manilla USDA Service Center, 2779 S 840 W, Manilla.
- 13th Annual Rushville Farm Toy Show Nov. 10 Don't miss this opportunity to add to your farm toy collection and get ahead on your Christmas shopping. The 13th Annual Rushville Farm Toy Show will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, at the Rush County Fairgrounds. Admission is fre
- 2014 Agricultural Outlook Program The Purdue Extension Service of Rush County will present a program titled "Agricultural Outlook 2014" at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at the Rush County Fairgrounds in the Root Building. The program is free to the public and is designed to
- 4H Poinsettia fundraiser underway Rush County 4-H is once again conducting their Poinsettia Fundraiser. The plants are available in red, white, pink and marble and are $7 each. They come in 6" gold foil pots. Plants will be 16" - 18" tall. Orders will be taken until plants
- Kuhn places entry in Livestock Expo Caroline Kuhn, of Manilla, has entered eight head of Showdown sheep at the approaching 40th annual North American Livestock Exposition (NAILE). The NAILE is recognized as the world's largest purebred livestock show with more than 26,000 ent
- McDaniel headed to Livestock Expo Jeff McDaniel of Arlington has entered six Horned Dorset in the sheep division of the 40th annual North American Livestock Exposition (NAILE). The NAILE is recognized as the world's largest purebred livestock show with more than 26,000 entr
- More Agriculture Headlines