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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Understanding and Mitigating the Adverse Effects of Poisonous Plants on Livestock Production Systems

Location: Poisonous Plant Research

Title: Methods of inducing conditioned food aversion to Baccharis coridifolia (mio-mio) in cattle

Authors
item Almeida, M -
item Schild, A -
item Pfister, James
item Assis-Brasil, N -
item Pimental, M -
item Forster, K -
item Riet-Correa, F -

Submitted to: Electronic Publication
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 1, 2013
Publication Date: August 30, 2013
Citation: Almeida, M.B., Schild, A.L., Pfister, J.A., Assis-Brasil, N.D., Pimental, M., Forster, K.M., Riet-Correa, F. 2013. Methods of inducing conditioned food aversion to Baccharis coridifolia (mio-mio) in cattle. Electronic Publication. 43(10): 1866-71.

Interpretive Summary: Baccharis coridifolia is a highly toxic plant in South America, and often kills grazing cattle. This study examined if the use of conditioned food aversion would reduce cattle consumption of the plant while grazing. Three experiments were performed to determine the efficacy of various methods of averting naïve cattle to prevent Baccharis coridifolia poisoning: forced oral administration of 0.5 g kg-1 body weight of fresh B. coridifolia; forced inhalation of the smoke from burning B. coridifolia and rubbing the plant on the animals' muzzles and mouths; and introducing the animals into paddocks with a low density of B. coridifolia. Results demonstrated that cattle forced to ingest low doses become strongly averted if introduced into paddocks 23-26 hours after the aversion. In contrast, cattle introduced into the paddocks between 1-10 hours after the aversion were not fully averted. Inhalation of B. coridifolia smoke, and rubbing the plant on the animals' muzzles and mouths were not efficient to induce an aversion. The introduction of cattle into paddocks with approximately 1% of B. coridifolia was efficient if the animals remained 5 months in the area, but not if they only remained for 60 hours, as cattle required sufficient time to learn to avoid the plant.

Technical Abstract: Three experiments were performed to determine the efficacy of various methods of averting naïve cattle to prevent Baccharis coridifolia poisoning: forced oral administration of 0.5 g kg-1 body weight of fresh B. coridifolia; forced inhalation of the smoke from burning B. coridifolia and rubbing the plant on the animals' muzzles and mouths; and introducing the animals into paddocks with low invasion by B. coridifolia. Results demonstrated that cattle forced to ingest low doses become strongly averted if introduced into paddocks 23-26 hours after the aversion. In contrast, cattle introduced into the paddocks between 1-10 hours were not fully averted. Inhalation of B. coridifolia smoke, and rubbing the plant on the animals' muzzles and mouths were not efficient to induce an aversion. The introduction of cattle into paddocks with approximately 1% of B. coridifolia was efficient if the animals remained 5 months in the area, but not if they only remained for 60 hours, as cattle required sufficient time to learn to avoid the plant.

Last Modified: 7/27/2014
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