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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Michael Ralphs, Rangeland Scientist
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              Poisonous Plant Research Lab                                                     1150 E 1400 N                               

    N Logan, UT 84341    





PhD    1983   Range Science (Grazing Management); Texas A&M University

MS     1977    Range Economics; Utah State University

BS     1973    Range Science; Utah State University



Sheep grazing cattle before larkspur

 Sampling locoweed for population studies

  Crooked calf grazing lupine         

 Cattle grazing broom snakeweed as a biological control


Research Projects:


  • Evaluate grazing behavior of cattle with respect to poisonous plants: larkspur, locoweed, lupine, broom snakeweed
  • Target livestock grazing to control poisonous and noxious weeds
  • Evaluate herbicide and biological controls of poisonous plants
  • Assess ecology and population cycles of poisonous plants
  • Determine environmental influences on toxin concentrations in plants
  • Provide management recommendation to reduce risk of poisoning and enhance sufficient use of rangelands.


Significant Accomplishments:


••          Developed herbicide control recommendations for larkspur, locoweed, and lupine.

••          Developed management recommendations to reduce risk of locoweed poisoning.

••          Developed biological tools to reduce risk of poisoning:

••          Larkspur mired to deter grazing of larkspur

••          Sheep grazing larkspur before cattle

••          Conditioned food aversion

••          Seed cool-season grasses to prevent reinvasion of loco and snakeweed and provide alternative feed.

••          Described snakeweed seedling ecology that drives its population outbreaks.

Last Modified: 8/13/2016
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