Forage, Feed, and Grazing Restrictions for Row Crop Herbicides


It’s nice seeing cattle being turned out into corn stalks! Cattle in Irrigated Cornstalks One point that I haven’t mentioned recently is that we all need to be checking the herbicide label for any grazing restrictions of crop residues.

So check the labels from in-season applied herbicides to row crops and fall-applied herbicides to crop residue for any potential grazing restrictions…and any restrictions on grazing cover crops planted into crop residues following application of those chemicals to a row crop.  If the label doesn’t specify any restrictions, then it should be ok. If you want to be on the safe side, a rule of thumb many chemical reps use is to use the pre-harvest interval for the amount of time to wait before grazing stalks.

Some labels will say that residue should not be grazed or baled and fed to livestock.  Sometimes studies were actually conducted to know there is a safety concern.  In other cases, the chemical company may not choose to conduct all the studies the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required for labeling due to high costs.  If that’s the case, the EPA requires the strongest restrictive language be placed on the label. 

Hail/rain/wind caused for soybean shatter and harvest loss. Volunteer beans have created green fields in the area. For those considering grazing, one needs to look at any herbicide grazing restrictions from herbicides applied in-season to soybeans as well. Dr. Bruce Anderson says, "Soybeans can cause bloat, but the incidence is low. The young green ones may be more risky. Founder would be possible problem with a sudden diet change. Too many unsprouted beans in the diet could cause excess fat; I think maximum is about 3 lbs beans per cow. I’d try to limit amount of grazing for a few days, maybe feeding a very palatable supplement like a ground forage/distillers mix and reduce the amount of this supplement each day for a week or so. And keep a dry, palatable hay always available free choice."

Hail/rain/wind caused for soybean shatter and harvest loss. Volunteer beans have created green fields in the area. For those considering grazing, one needs to look at any herbicide grazing restrictions from herbicides applied in-season to soybeans as well. Dr. Bruce Anderson says, “Soybeans can cause bloat, but the incidence is low. The young green ones may be more risky. Founder would be possible problem with a sudden diet change. Too many unsprouted beans in the diet could cause excess fat; I think maximum is about 3 lbs beans per cow. I’d try to limit amount of grazing for a few days, maybe feeding a very palatable supplement like a ground forage/distillers mix and reduce the amount of this supplement each day for a week or so. And keep a dry, palatable hay always available free choice.”  Additional information from the University of Missouri.   

Regardless, if it says there’s a grazing restriction on the label, the label needs to be followed as it is a legal document and the law.  Your cattle may/may not be affected by grazing stalks or cover crops where a chemical with a grazing restriction is on the label, but there may be other concerns such as problems with the chemical affecting the calf or being retained in the cow’s milk.

For quick references, the 2015 UNL Guide for Weed Management shows Forage, Feed, Grazing Restrictions for Row Crop Herbicides on pages 174-177.  A new weed guide will be released January 2016.  These pages just provide a reference; it’s truly best to read and follow the label.

About jenreesources

I'm the Crops and Water Extension Educator for York and Seward counties in Nebraska with a focus in irrigated crop production and plant pathology.

Posted on October 26, 2015, in Grazing, Livestock and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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