Location: Poisonous Plant Research
Project Number: 5428-32000-015-03
Start Date: Jul 10, 2012
End Date: Aug 31, 2013
This research project will be carried out in cooperation with a producer on Maui utilizing small paddocks located in fireweed populations to investigate how plant density and available forage influence consumption rates in cattle. Blood serum levels of specific enzymes indicative of PA activity in the liver will be monitored and correlated to changes in plant density, forage availability, and animal performance to determine factors that affect the fate of PAs in the animal. Toxicology and grazing and in-vitro rumen digestion trials will be used to a) characterize the toxicological response of cattle to PAs in fireweed, and determine potential binding of CT and PAs in vitro; b) determine if the adverse effects of PAs are ameliorated by adding CT to animals’ diets; and c) through an additional grazing trial determine if cattle provided CT supplementation will willingly graze fireweed in a pasture environment. Again blood serum levels of indicator enzymes will be monitored to determine the relative toxicity level experienced by grazing animals. The information generated by these research trials will be compiled into a series of best-management practices and disseminated via presentations, and extension and journal publications to producers and the scientific community. All animal studies will be conducted under veterinary supervision, and protocols will be approved in advance by the IACUC at the University of Hawaii and Utah State University (for USDA-ARS, PPRL work).