AKRON, Colo. — Nitrate accumulations in feed are a concern during drought conditions. Early in the growing season plants absorb nitrogen from the soil and metabolize it for plant growth. Nitrates become an issue when plants “harvest” nitrogen from soils but cannot break the nutrient down due to stress. Plant stress can be in the form of high air temperatures, drought conditions, hail, or any factor that reduces plant photosynthesis. The result is nitrate accumulations in plants that can be toxic to livestock when fed (nitrate poisoning).
Colorado State University Extension Offices located in the Golden Plains Area (Burlington, Wray, Holyoke, Julesburg, and Akron) are offering nitrate testing for feed samples brought in. Minimum plant samples needed for testing include approximately 1 gallon of feed. Plant samples should be taken from random locations in the field. Nitrate analysis costs $5 and takes approximately 5 minutes per test.
–Colorado State University Extension