Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Poisonous Plant Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #332162

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

Location: Poisonous Plant Research

Title: Lupine consumption by cattle in the scablands of Eastern Washington.

Author
item Pfister, James
item Panter, Kip
item Lee, Stephen

Submitted to: International Symposium on Poisonous Plants
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/14/2014
Publication Date: 6/5/2015
Citation: Pfister, J.A., Panter, K.E., Lee, S.T. 2015. Lupine consumption by cattle in the scablands of Eastern Washington.. International Symposium on Poisonous Plants. 9:250-256.

Interpretive Summary: The Scabland region of eastern Washington is dominated by annual grasses and in some areas by Lupinus leucophyllus (velvet lupine). The purpose of these trials was to document the consumption of velvet lupine and relate the amount of lupine eaten by pregnant cows with the incidence of crooked calves. Anagyrine concentrations in lupine plants averaged 0.17% during 2006 and 0.23% during 2007. Lupine had crude protein (CP) concentrations exceeding 16% in both 2006 and 2007 in younger plants, and with maturity the CP concentrations fell below 10%. Grazing cattle ate modest amounts of lupine during the summer of 2006, with consumption peaking in early July. During 2007, consumption of lupine by grazing cattle again peaked during late June and early July. Pen-fed cattle ate moderate (400 g/day) to large (1000 g/day) amounts of supplemental lupine overnight in their pens, but consumption varied greatly from year to year. Most of the pregnant cattle gave birth to calves with moderate or minor skeletal deformities. The birth defects were minor to moderate arthrogryposis, scoliosis, and/or rotational defects in the front legs. The defects typically resolved in 30-60 days. The cows that received lupine in addition to grazing (i.e., in pens at night) did not have an increased proportion of calves with birth defects compared to the cattle that only grazed lupine. However, in 2007 one pen-fed cow gave birth to a severely deformed calf that did not survive. Even though cattle ate varying amounts of lupine (grazing or overnight in the pen) in 2006 and 2007, the proportion of birth defects was essentially identical. These results indicate the need to conduct controlled experiments to determine the interactions of anagyrine dose, duration, and stage of gestation in pregnant cows, and to relate the total toxic insult (dose x duration x stage) to the proportion and severity of deformed calves. This information would greatly facilitate making management recommendations to reduce losses.

Technical Abstract: The Scabland region of eastern Washington is dominated by annual grasses and in some areas by Lupinus leucophyllus (velvet lupine). The purpose of these trials was to document the consumption of velvet lupine and relate the amount of lupine eaten by pregnant cows with the incidence of crooked calves. Anagyrine concentrations in lupine plants averaged 0.17% during 2006 and 0.23% during 2007. Lupine had crude protein (CP) concentrations exceeding 16% in both 2006 and 2007 in younger plants, and with maturity the CP concentrations fell below 10%. Grazing cattle ate modest amounts of lupine during the summer of 2006, with consumption peaking in early July. During 2007, consumption of lupine by grazing cattle again peaked during late June and early July. Pen-fed cattle ate moderate (400 g/day) to large (1000 g/day) amounts of supplemental lupine overnight in their pens, but consumption varied greatly from year to year. Most of the pregnant cattle gave birth to calves with moderate or minor skeletal deformities. The birth defects were minor to moderate arthrogryposis, scoliosis, and/or rotational defects in the front legs. The defects typically resolved in 30-60 days. The cows that received lupine in addition to grazing (i.e., in pens at night) did not have an increased proportion of calves with birth defects compared to the cattle that only grazed lupine. However, in 2007 one pen-fed cow gave birth to a severely deformed calf that did not survive. Even though cattle ate varying amounts of lupine (grazing or overnight in the pen) in 2006 and 2007, the proportion of birth defects was essentially identical. These results indicate the need to conduct controlled experiments to determine the interactions of anagyrine dose, duration, and stage of gestation in pregnant cows, and to relate the total toxic insult (dose x duration x stage) to the proportion and severity of deformed calves. This information would greatly facilitate making management recommendations to reduce losses.