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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Poisonous Plant Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #331655

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

Location: Poisonous Plant Research

Title: Intermittent grazing: A management tool to reduce the impact of lupine-induced Crooked Calf Syndrome (CCS)

item Panter, Kip

Submitted to: International Symposium on Poisonous Plants
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/30/2015
Publication Date: 6/5/2015
Citation: Panter, K.E. 2015. Intermittent grazing: A management tool to reduce the impact of lupine-induced Crooked Calf Syndrome (CCS). International Symposium on Poisonous Plants. 9:257-263.

Interpretive Summary: Lupine induced- crooked calf syndrome causes economic hardships to cow-calf producers in the western U.S. and western Canada. The crooked calf syndrome (CCS) is manifest by crooked legs, back and neck and occasional cleft palate. The only method to insure no crooked calves is to avoid grazing high risk lupine pastures with cows in the first 100 days of pregnancy. However, research information and new management tools may help to reduce the losses from CCS. These tools include changing breeding schedules, graze high risk pastures with non-pregnant stockers, improve range conditions so cattle do not graze lupines or use an intermittent grazing management schedule and move cattle to new pastures every 10 days.

Technical Abstract: The Lupinus genus is a large group of legumes, some of which cause a congenital condition in cattle referred to as “Crooked Calf Syndrome” (CCS). Only Lupines that contain the alkaloids anagyrine or ammodendrine are problematic to cattle producers. The syndrome is manifest by a series of multiple congenital contractures of the limbs and spinal column with occasional cleft palate and secondary ribcage anomalies. Research at the PPRL has led to a number of management tools for ranchers to reduce the impact of this syndrome. Lupines are nutritious plants that can be used to supplement other forages when grasses become mature and less palatable. However, pregnant cows in their first and second trimester should not be grazed on high risk pastures. Grazing stockers (steers and heifers) is a good way to utilize high risk pastures. Fall calving, improved range conditions, herbicide control, are other methods to reduce the impact. More recently, research demonstrated that intermittent grazing is a method that will allow ranchers to utilize these high risk pastures and reduce the losses.