Testing times: Drought means watching forage, water

Testing times: Drought means watching forage, water.
Brett Webb, director of the lab, say tests are about six-fold from non-drought years.
Typically the lab does 20 to 30 of the tests in non-drought years.
So far this year, they have done about 300 for water and about the same for forages.
"In typical years it’s fairly rare to see high nitrates," Webb says.
Michelle Mostrom, a veterinary toxicologist with the North Dakota State University Diagnostic Laboratory, says the laboratory has been busy testing water for total dissolved solids sulfates and nitrates.
The total dissolved solids salts should be less than 5,000 ppm for most classes of grazing livestock.
Mostrom says a major concern is the sulfates.
Hot weather and nutrients in water supplies for cattle can make water a breeding ground for "blue-green algae."
There haven’t been many tests so far that have come back at levels where the grain straw can’t be fed at all, but often they must be diluted into feeds that are lower in nitrates.

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