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K-State offers forage guide for cover crops

Online publication addresses cover crops plant types, possible toxicities.

Kansas State University has a new online publication to help beef producers navigate use of the wide variety of annual crops for forage.

Annual forage crops can provide high-quality forage during key production periods and are the staple of the modern cover-crop movement.

They may help reduce soil erosion, suppress weeds, and improve soil nutrient profiles. Traditionally grown for agronomic or soil benefits but not harvested, cover crops increasingly are being considered for grazing and sometimes for haying.

They are appealing because of the potential for additional revenue from improved cattle performance, combined with the benefits of soil stabilization.

Kansas State University animal scientists, agronomists and veterinarians have put together a guide to help beef producers avoid problems with toxicities from cover crop plants.


The Kansas State authors say people considering these plants should know that plants that work well as cover crops may not be suitable for forage or grazing. They say some species can be toxic or fatal to livestock.

The university's new publication, complied by animal scientists, agronomists and veterinarians, describes common cover crops and any dangers they present for grazing livestock.

The publication covers a variety of warm-season and cool-season plants, potential toxicities and metabolic disorders possible from some of these, and offers management tips.

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