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Cattle Vulnerable To Plant Toxins During Drought

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File photo of cattle grazing. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

File photo of cattle grazing. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The drought that has plagued Arkansas for weeks is taking a toll on cattle, but not necessarily from the heat.

The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture said Monday that some cows have been sickened by eating toxic plants because the grass they’d normally eat has been rendered dormant by the drought.

At least two cows are known to have been killed last week.

Extension forage specialist John Jennings says two plants cows sometimes turn to in a drought are perilla mint and poison hemlock.

Jennings says in some places the perilla mint is a pasture’s only green plant. The weed is normally found in shady spots or on a pasture’s border.

Another toxic plant is hemp dogbane — found in hay fields where growers scaled back herbicide treatments.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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