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Rancher loses cows to toxic plant

A  Box Elder County rancher found more than two dozen head of cattle dead on grazing ground in Promontory last week and toxicology findings have determined  the animals died from halogeton weed poisoning.

Box Elder County’s Chief Deputy Kevin Potter said the cows were part of a much larger herd and may have only been dead  one to three days.  After an investigation to eliminate the possiblity the animals’ deaths could have been human caused, a veteranarian was called in to check for other possible causes.

Wednesday that report said the animals had died of poisoning after ingesting halogeton weed. Halogeton is  common in dry deserts, barren areas and overgrazed land where native vegetation has been removed.  It is common is Box Elder County, Potter said, and is especially abundant in alkaline soils, typical of some of the rangeland in the Promontory area.  Halogeton has little forage value but is not harmful if eaten in small doses with other plants.  It is considered highly toxic in large quantities, however.

The first signs of poisoning occurs two to six hours after an animal ingests the fatal amount, and death can occur in nine to 11 hours.



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