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Ergot pics

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DiamondSCattleCo

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About three days ago, I noticed a feeder whose ears were starting to curl, almost as though they were freezing. I didn't think a whole bunch of it, as I've got them in a pen next to my horse, who has a history of chewing calf's ears whenever he gets the chance. Today, I noticed one of my purebreds has an ear doing the same thing.

So I'm thinking its ergot poisoning, which is the only thing I can think of that would cause something along these lines. I'm feeding a few pounds of oats, but in all my years in this area, I've never once seen ergot in oats. I spread out a couple 5 gallon pails of oats to see if I could spot some. I found a couple kernels that look as though they _may_ be ergot, but I've never seen what ergot looks like in oats, just wheat. Does ergot that shows in oats look exactly the same as that in wheat?

I prowled the internet, found several dozen websites with ergot pics, but nary a pic of it in oats. I did also notice that ergot could grow in quackgrass, and I'm feeding some hay with headed out quack in it. And I also found mention of ergot in redtop. The field that this oats came from was polluted with redtop. Unfortunately, again I couldn't find a single picture of ergot in either quackgrass or red top.

Anyone have _good_ pictures of ergot in oats, redtop and/or quackgrass?

Or does anyone have any other idea what could be causing the feeders ear to curl like that? One animal is 550 lbs, the other is over 800lbs. Neither shows any signs of other sickness, nor do they show signs of lameness. I did see a couple tails in the pen that didn't look healthy, but not enough to cause any real concern.

Rod
 

cowsense

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Rod: I've never heard of ergot in oats (have only seen smut) but have seen it in rye grasses. Never in quackgrass either......what species is redtop?Hopefully it's just one of those minor things that come and go around stock raising!
 

the_jersey_lilly_2000

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I dunno, just my thoughts, since we don't have freezing problems, we do sometimes have what we call rain rot. Since ya'll have had wet weather could it possibly be that?
 

DiamondSCattleCo

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Cowsense, either had I until I got on the ag extension website and saw pictures. Apparently its rare, and it must be as I've never ever seen it in oats. And I'd say its even rarer in quackgrass, as my family has fed quack hay for the last hundred years or so and never seen ergot in it.

As for what species redtop is, I have no idea. Its a fairly rare weed in my neck of the woods, usually only coming when its wet.

Jersey, I'm not sure about wet rot. Never heard of it before. We've had alot of rain here this year, but it quit when winter hit in November. We've only had a little bit of snow, and some freezing rain a couple weeks back that didn't amount to much.

Rod
 

the_jersey_lilly_2000

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it's a fungus, horses and cows both can get it, but usually it shows up on their backs first, but it was just somethin that come to mind since you said you'd had wet weather.
 
A

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I had ergot in blue joint hay one year that caused us quite a wreck- especially amongst first calf heifers...I was feeding it mixed with enough other hay, that the only problem I had was a couple of abortions- but my cousin was feeding it straight to his heifers and he not only had several abort, but even had a couple die...And it was so small as to be almost virtually unrecognizable with the naked eye...County Agent sent a sample in to the University and they found it.....If I remember right (been 20 years ago) they told us it is more apt to occur in the wet years.....

If you can, I'd get it tested.....
 

Mike

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Here's a few pics of ergot in some different forages.

I might add......their lab is excellent for testing!

http://www.ag.auburn.edu/enpl/services/fescue.htm
 

DiamondSCattleCo

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Well, hell. Took the three critters to the vet this afternoon, just to make sure it was ergot poisoning and it definitely is. Checked the oats over real close, took it to the elevator and no ergot there. So that leaves my hay. After talking to a livestock nutritionist, poisonous ergot levels in hay are virtually undetectable by the naked eye, so I've got to core sample each fields hay and send them in for testing.

Get this, within North America, there is only ONE lab capable of testing for ergot in hay and thats in Missouri. 3 weeks lag time :( So I guess I'll be rolling some barley tomorrow and feeding straw.....

Rod
 

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