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Toxic Grass Kills Texas Cattle

Toxic Grass Kills Texas Cattle


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Drought conditions in Texas have been reducing cattle stocks, and some ranchers are now getting increasingly antsy after an entire herd of cattle suddenly dropped dead after eating a field of a common breed of grass, which specialists say became full of toxic levels of cyanide.

Jerry Abel has been a rancher since 1977, and has been growing the "Tifton 85" Bermuda grass on his pasture for 15 years. But this summer, when he let his 18 head of cattle loose on the grass, they started eating, then bellowing, then convulsing. Within a few hours, only three were left alive.

Autopsy revealed the cause of death was cyanide poisoning from toxic grass, even though the Tifton 85 is a common form of grass on grazing lands for cattle.

Certain forms of grass are known to pose cyanide threats, especially with new growth. But there’s never been another reported case of this happening with the Bermuda grass, so area ranchers are nervous.

"If cattle are already on pasture, don't worry about it," said Larry Redmon, a specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, to The Huffington Post. "Chances are it's not going to be an issue." But, he said, "I would never say never."

The Department of Agriculture is working to figure out just what happened to turn the common grass toxic, and Redmon said the hazardous buildup could be due to a combination of conditions including drought, new rainfall, and grasshoppers.

While some ranchers are nervous, others are a bit more laid-back about the whole thing.

"Weird things happen," said Jim McAdams, former president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, who has about 40 acres of the grass in question. "It’s just something that we ranchers have lived with for a long time."


Grass linked to Texas cattle deaths

(CBS News) ELGIN, Texas - A mysterious mass death of a herd of cattle has prompted a federal investigation in Central Texas.

Preliminary test results are blaming the deaths on the grass the cows were eating when they got sick, reports CBS Station KEYE.

The cows dropped dead several weeks ago on an 80-acre ranch owned by Jerry Abel in Elgin, just east of Austin.

Abel says he's been using the fields for cattle grazing and hay for 15 years. "A lot of leaf, it's good grass, tested high for protein - it should have been perfect," he told KEYE correspondent Lisa Leigh Kelly.

Trending News

The grass is a hybrid form of Bermuda known as Tifton 85 which has been growing here for 15 years, feeding Abel's 18 head of Corriente cattle. Corriente are used for team roping because of their small size and horns.

"When we opened that gate to that fresh grass, they were all very anxious to get to that," said Abel.

Three weeks ago, the cattle had just been turned out to enjoy the fresh grass, when something went terribly wrong.

"When our trainer first heard the bellowing, he thought our pregnant heifer may be having a calf or something," said Abel. "But when he got down here, virtually all of the steers and heifers were on the ground. Some were already dead, and the others were already in convulsions."

Within hours, 15 of the 18 cattle were dead.

"That was very traumatic to see, because there was nothing you could do, obviously, they were dying," said Abel.

Preliminary tests revealed the Tifton 85 grass, which has been here for years, had suddenly started producing cyanide gas, poisoning the cattle.

"Coming off the drought that we had the last two years . we're concerned it was a combination of events that led us to this," Dr. Gary Warner, an Elgin veterinarian and cattle specialist who conducted the 15 necropsies, told Kelly.

What is more worrisome: Other farmers have tested their Tifton 85 grass, and several in Bastrop County have found their fields are also toxic with cyanide. However, no other cattle have died.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are dissecting the grass to determine if there might have been some strange, unexpected mutation.

Until it can be determined why this grass suddenly began producing cyanide, Abel is keep his livestock far away.

"The grasshoppers are enjoying it now," he said.

CORRECTION: As originally published, this story referred to Tifton 85 grass as a genetically-modified product, which is incorrect it is actually a hybrid of Bermuda grass.


Grass linked to Texas cattle deaths

(CBS News) ELGIN, Texas - A mysterious mass death of a herd of cattle has prompted a federal investigation in Central Texas.

Preliminary test results are blaming the deaths on the grass the cows were eating when they got sick, reports CBS Station KEYE.

The cows dropped dead several weeks ago on an 80-acre ranch owned by Jerry Abel in Elgin, just east of Austin.

Abel says he's been using the fields for cattle grazing and hay for 15 years. "A lot of leaf, it's good grass, tested high for protein - it should have been perfect," he told KEYE correspondent Lisa Leigh Kelly.

Trending News

The grass is a hybrid form of Bermuda known as Tifton 85 which has been growing here for 15 years, feeding Abel's 18 head of Corriente cattle. Corriente are used for team roping because of their small size and horns.

"When we opened that gate to that fresh grass, they were all very anxious to get to that," said Abel.

Three weeks ago, the cattle had just been turned out to enjoy the fresh grass, when something went terribly wrong.

"When our trainer first heard the bellowing, he thought our pregnant heifer may be having a calf or something," said Abel. "But when he got down here, virtually all of the steers and heifers were on the ground. Some were already dead, and the others were already in convulsions."

Within hours, 15 of the 18 cattle were dead.

"That was very traumatic to see, because there was nothing you could do, obviously, they were dying," said Abel.

Preliminary tests revealed the Tifton 85 grass, which has been here for years, had suddenly started producing cyanide gas, poisoning the cattle.

"Coming off the drought that we had the last two years . we're concerned it was a combination of events that led us to this," Dr. Gary Warner, an Elgin veterinarian and cattle specialist who conducted the 15 necropsies, told Kelly.

What is more worrisome: Other farmers have tested their Tifton 85 grass, and several in Bastrop County have found their fields are also toxic with cyanide. However, no other cattle have died.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are dissecting the grass to determine if there might have been some strange, unexpected mutation.

Until it can be determined why this grass suddenly began producing cyanide, Abel is keep his livestock far away.

"The grasshoppers are enjoying it now," he said.

CORRECTION: As originally published, this story referred to Tifton 85 grass as a genetically-modified product, which is incorrect it is actually a hybrid of Bermuda grass.


Grass linked to Texas cattle deaths

(CBS News) ELGIN, Texas - A mysterious mass death of a herd of cattle has prompted a federal investigation in Central Texas.

Preliminary test results are blaming the deaths on the grass the cows were eating when they got sick, reports CBS Station KEYE.

The cows dropped dead several weeks ago on an 80-acre ranch owned by Jerry Abel in Elgin, just east of Austin.

Abel says he's been using the fields for cattle grazing and hay for 15 years. "A lot of leaf, it's good grass, tested high for protein - it should have been perfect," he told KEYE correspondent Lisa Leigh Kelly.

Trending News

The grass is a hybrid form of Bermuda known as Tifton 85 which has been growing here for 15 years, feeding Abel's 18 head of Corriente cattle. Corriente are used for team roping because of their small size and horns.

"When we opened that gate to that fresh grass, they were all very anxious to get to that," said Abel.

Three weeks ago, the cattle had just been turned out to enjoy the fresh grass, when something went terribly wrong.

"When our trainer first heard the bellowing, he thought our pregnant heifer may be having a calf or something," said Abel. "But when he got down here, virtually all of the steers and heifers were on the ground. Some were already dead, and the others were already in convulsions."

Within hours, 15 of the 18 cattle were dead.

"That was very traumatic to see, because there was nothing you could do, obviously, they were dying," said Abel.

Preliminary tests revealed the Tifton 85 grass, which has been here for years, had suddenly started producing cyanide gas, poisoning the cattle.

"Coming off the drought that we had the last two years . we're concerned it was a combination of events that led us to this," Dr. Gary Warner, an Elgin veterinarian and cattle specialist who conducted the 15 necropsies, told Kelly.

What is more worrisome: Other farmers have tested their Tifton 85 grass, and several in Bastrop County have found their fields are also toxic with cyanide. However, no other cattle have died.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are dissecting the grass to determine if there might have been some strange, unexpected mutation.

Until it can be determined why this grass suddenly began producing cyanide, Abel is keep his livestock far away.

"The grasshoppers are enjoying it now," he said.

CORRECTION: As originally published, this story referred to Tifton 85 grass as a genetically-modified product, which is incorrect it is actually a hybrid of Bermuda grass.


Grass linked to Texas cattle deaths

(CBS News) ELGIN, Texas - A mysterious mass death of a herd of cattle has prompted a federal investigation in Central Texas.

Preliminary test results are blaming the deaths on the grass the cows were eating when they got sick, reports CBS Station KEYE.

The cows dropped dead several weeks ago on an 80-acre ranch owned by Jerry Abel in Elgin, just east of Austin.

Abel says he's been using the fields for cattle grazing and hay for 15 years. "A lot of leaf, it's good grass, tested high for protein - it should have been perfect," he told KEYE correspondent Lisa Leigh Kelly.

Trending News

The grass is a hybrid form of Bermuda known as Tifton 85 which has been growing here for 15 years, feeding Abel's 18 head of Corriente cattle. Corriente are used for team roping because of their small size and horns.

"When we opened that gate to that fresh grass, they were all very anxious to get to that," said Abel.

Three weeks ago, the cattle had just been turned out to enjoy the fresh grass, when something went terribly wrong.

"When our trainer first heard the bellowing, he thought our pregnant heifer may be having a calf or something," said Abel. "But when he got down here, virtually all of the steers and heifers were on the ground. Some were already dead, and the others were already in convulsions."

Within hours, 15 of the 18 cattle were dead.

"That was very traumatic to see, because there was nothing you could do, obviously, they were dying," said Abel.

Preliminary tests revealed the Tifton 85 grass, which has been here for years, had suddenly started producing cyanide gas, poisoning the cattle.

"Coming off the drought that we had the last two years . we're concerned it was a combination of events that led us to this," Dr. Gary Warner, an Elgin veterinarian and cattle specialist who conducted the 15 necropsies, told Kelly.

What is more worrisome: Other farmers have tested their Tifton 85 grass, and several in Bastrop County have found their fields are also toxic with cyanide. However, no other cattle have died.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are dissecting the grass to determine if there might have been some strange, unexpected mutation.

Until it can be determined why this grass suddenly began producing cyanide, Abel is keep his livestock far away.

"The grasshoppers are enjoying it now," he said.

CORRECTION: As originally published, this story referred to Tifton 85 grass as a genetically-modified product, which is incorrect it is actually a hybrid of Bermuda grass.


Grass linked to Texas cattle deaths

(CBS News) ELGIN, Texas - A mysterious mass death of a herd of cattle has prompted a federal investigation in Central Texas.

Preliminary test results are blaming the deaths on the grass the cows were eating when they got sick, reports CBS Station KEYE.

The cows dropped dead several weeks ago on an 80-acre ranch owned by Jerry Abel in Elgin, just east of Austin.

Abel says he's been using the fields for cattle grazing and hay for 15 years. "A lot of leaf, it's good grass, tested high for protein - it should have been perfect," he told KEYE correspondent Lisa Leigh Kelly.

Trending News

The grass is a hybrid form of Bermuda known as Tifton 85 which has been growing here for 15 years, feeding Abel's 18 head of Corriente cattle. Corriente are used for team roping because of their small size and horns.

"When we opened that gate to that fresh grass, they were all very anxious to get to that," said Abel.

Three weeks ago, the cattle had just been turned out to enjoy the fresh grass, when something went terribly wrong.

"When our trainer first heard the bellowing, he thought our pregnant heifer may be having a calf or something," said Abel. "But when he got down here, virtually all of the steers and heifers were on the ground. Some were already dead, and the others were already in convulsions."

Within hours, 15 of the 18 cattle were dead.

"That was very traumatic to see, because there was nothing you could do, obviously, they were dying," said Abel.

Preliminary tests revealed the Tifton 85 grass, which has been here for years, had suddenly started producing cyanide gas, poisoning the cattle.

"Coming off the drought that we had the last two years . we're concerned it was a combination of events that led us to this," Dr. Gary Warner, an Elgin veterinarian and cattle specialist who conducted the 15 necropsies, told Kelly.

What is more worrisome: Other farmers have tested their Tifton 85 grass, and several in Bastrop County have found their fields are also toxic with cyanide. However, no other cattle have died.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are dissecting the grass to determine if there might have been some strange, unexpected mutation.

Until it can be determined why this grass suddenly began producing cyanide, Abel is keep his livestock far away.

"The grasshoppers are enjoying it now," he said.

CORRECTION: As originally published, this story referred to Tifton 85 grass as a genetically-modified product, which is incorrect it is actually a hybrid of Bermuda grass.


Grass linked to Texas cattle deaths

(CBS News) ELGIN, Texas - A mysterious mass death of a herd of cattle has prompted a federal investigation in Central Texas.

Preliminary test results are blaming the deaths on the grass the cows were eating when they got sick, reports CBS Station KEYE.

The cows dropped dead several weeks ago on an 80-acre ranch owned by Jerry Abel in Elgin, just east of Austin.

Abel says he's been using the fields for cattle grazing and hay for 15 years. "A lot of leaf, it's good grass, tested high for protein - it should have been perfect," he told KEYE correspondent Lisa Leigh Kelly.

Trending News

The grass is a hybrid form of Bermuda known as Tifton 85 which has been growing here for 15 years, feeding Abel's 18 head of Corriente cattle. Corriente are used for team roping because of their small size and horns.

"When we opened that gate to that fresh grass, they were all very anxious to get to that," said Abel.

Three weeks ago, the cattle had just been turned out to enjoy the fresh grass, when something went terribly wrong.

"When our trainer first heard the bellowing, he thought our pregnant heifer may be having a calf or something," said Abel. "But when he got down here, virtually all of the steers and heifers were on the ground. Some were already dead, and the others were already in convulsions."

Within hours, 15 of the 18 cattle were dead.

"That was very traumatic to see, because there was nothing you could do, obviously, they were dying," said Abel.

Preliminary tests revealed the Tifton 85 grass, which has been here for years, had suddenly started producing cyanide gas, poisoning the cattle.

"Coming off the drought that we had the last two years . we're concerned it was a combination of events that led us to this," Dr. Gary Warner, an Elgin veterinarian and cattle specialist who conducted the 15 necropsies, told Kelly.

What is more worrisome: Other farmers have tested their Tifton 85 grass, and several in Bastrop County have found their fields are also toxic with cyanide. However, no other cattle have died.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are dissecting the grass to determine if there might have been some strange, unexpected mutation.

Until it can be determined why this grass suddenly began producing cyanide, Abel is keep his livestock far away.

"The grasshoppers are enjoying it now," he said.

CORRECTION: As originally published, this story referred to Tifton 85 grass as a genetically-modified product, which is incorrect it is actually a hybrid of Bermuda grass.


Grass linked to Texas cattle deaths

(CBS News) ELGIN, Texas - A mysterious mass death of a herd of cattle has prompted a federal investigation in Central Texas.

Preliminary test results are blaming the deaths on the grass the cows were eating when they got sick, reports CBS Station KEYE.

The cows dropped dead several weeks ago on an 80-acre ranch owned by Jerry Abel in Elgin, just east of Austin.

Abel says he's been using the fields for cattle grazing and hay for 15 years. "A lot of leaf, it's good grass, tested high for protein - it should have been perfect," he told KEYE correspondent Lisa Leigh Kelly.

Trending News

The grass is a hybrid form of Bermuda known as Tifton 85 which has been growing here for 15 years, feeding Abel's 18 head of Corriente cattle. Corriente are used for team roping because of their small size and horns.

"When we opened that gate to that fresh grass, they were all very anxious to get to that," said Abel.

Three weeks ago, the cattle had just been turned out to enjoy the fresh grass, when something went terribly wrong.

"When our trainer first heard the bellowing, he thought our pregnant heifer may be having a calf or something," said Abel. "But when he got down here, virtually all of the steers and heifers were on the ground. Some were already dead, and the others were already in convulsions."

Within hours, 15 of the 18 cattle were dead.

"That was very traumatic to see, because there was nothing you could do, obviously, they were dying," said Abel.

Preliminary tests revealed the Tifton 85 grass, which has been here for years, had suddenly started producing cyanide gas, poisoning the cattle.

"Coming off the drought that we had the last two years . we're concerned it was a combination of events that led us to this," Dr. Gary Warner, an Elgin veterinarian and cattle specialist who conducted the 15 necropsies, told Kelly.

What is more worrisome: Other farmers have tested their Tifton 85 grass, and several in Bastrop County have found their fields are also toxic with cyanide. However, no other cattle have died.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are dissecting the grass to determine if there might have been some strange, unexpected mutation.

Until it can be determined why this grass suddenly began producing cyanide, Abel is keep his livestock far away.

"The grasshoppers are enjoying it now," he said.

CORRECTION: As originally published, this story referred to Tifton 85 grass as a genetically-modified product, which is incorrect it is actually a hybrid of Bermuda grass.


Grass linked to Texas cattle deaths

(CBS News) ELGIN, Texas - A mysterious mass death of a herd of cattle has prompted a federal investigation in Central Texas.

Preliminary test results are blaming the deaths on the grass the cows were eating when they got sick, reports CBS Station KEYE.

The cows dropped dead several weeks ago on an 80-acre ranch owned by Jerry Abel in Elgin, just east of Austin.

Abel says he's been using the fields for cattle grazing and hay for 15 years. "A lot of leaf, it's good grass, tested high for protein - it should have been perfect," he told KEYE correspondent Lisa Leigh Kelly.

Trending News

The grass is a hybrid form of Bermuda known as Tifton 85 which has been growing here for 15 years, feeding Abel's 18 head of Corriente cattle. Corriente are used for team roping because of their small size and horns.

"When we opened that gate to that fresh grass, they were all very anxious to get to that," said Abel.

Three weeks ago, the cattle had just been turned out to enjoy the fresh grass, when something went terribly wrong.

"When our trainer first heard the bellowing, he thought our pregnant heifer may be having a calf or something," said Abel. "But when he got down here, virtually all of the steers and heifers were on the ground. Some were already dead, and the others were already in convulsions."

Within hours, 15 of the 18 cattle were dead.

"That was very traumatic to see, because there was nothing you could do, obviously, they were dying," said Abel.

Preliminary tests revealed the Tifton 85 grass, which has been here for years, had suddenly started producing cyanide gas, poisoning the cattle.

"Coming off the drought that we had the last two years . we're concerned it was a combination of events that led us to this," Dr. Gary Warner, an Elgin veterinarian and cattle specialist who conducted the 15 necropsies, told Kelly.

What is more worrisome: Other farmers have tested their Tifton 85 grass, and several in Bastrop County have found their fields are also toxic with cyanide. However, no other cattle have died.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are dissecting the grass to determine if there might have been some strange, unexpected mutation.

Until it can be determined why this grass suddenly began producing cyanide, Abel is keep his livestock far away.

"The grasshoppers are enjoying it now," he said.

CORRECTION: As originally published, this story referred to Tifton 85 grass as a genetically-modified product, which is incorrect it is actually a hybrid of Bermuda grass.


Grass linked to Texas cattle deaths

(CBS News) ELGIN, Texas - A mysterious mass death of a herd of cattle has prompted a federal investigation in Central Texas.

Preliminary test results are blaming the deaths on the grass the cows were eating when they got sick, reports CBS Station KEYE.

The cows dropped dead several weeks ago on an 80-acre ranch owned by Jerry Abel in Elgin, just east of Austin.

Abel says he's been using the fields for cattle grazing and hay for 15 years. "A lot of leaf, it's good grass, tested high for protein - it should have been perfect," he told KEYE correspondent Lisa Leigh Kelly.

Trending News

The grass is a hybrid form of Bermuda known as Tifton 85 which has been growing here for 15 years, feeding Abel's 18 head of Corriente cattle. Corriente are used for team roping because of their small size and horns.

"When we opened that gate to that fresh grass, they were all very anxious to get to that," said Abel.

Three weeks ago, the cattle had just been turned out to enjoy the fresh grass, when something went terribly wrong.

"When our trainer first heard the bellowing, he thought our pregnant heifer may be having a calf or something," said Abel. "But when he got down here, virtually all of the steers and heifers were on the ground. Some were already dead, and the others were already in convulsions."

Within hours, 15 of the 18 cattle were dead.

"That was very traumatic to see, because there was nothing you could do, obviously, they were dying," said Abel.

Preliminary tests revealed the Tifton 85 grass, which has been here for years, had suddenly started producing cyanide gas, poisoning the cattle.

"Coming off the drought that we had the last two years . we're concerned it was a combination of events that led us to this," Dr. Gary Warner, an Elgin veterinarian and cattle specialist who conducted the 15 necropsies, told Kelly.

What is more worrisome: Other farmers have tested their Tifton 85 grass, and several in Bastrop County have found their fields are also toxic with cyanide. However, no other cattle have died.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are dissecting the grass to determine if there might have been some strange, unexpected mutation.

Until it can be determined why this grass suddenly began producing cyanide, Abel is keep his livestock far away.

"The grasshoppers are enjoying it now," he said.

CORRECTION: As originally published, this story referred to Tifton 85 grass as a genetically-modified product, which is incorrect it is actually a hybrid of Bermuda grass.


Grass linked to Texas cattle deaths

(CBS News) ELGIN, Texas - A mysterious mass death of a herd of cattle has prompted a federal investigation in Central Texas.

Preliminary test results are blaming the deaths on the grass the cows were eating when they got sick, reports CBS Station KEYE.

The cows dropped dead several weeks ago on an 80-acre ranch owned by Jerry Abel in Elgin, just east of Austin.

Abel says he's been using the fields for cattle grazing and hay for 15 years. "A lot of leaf, it's good grass, tested high for protein - it should have been perfect," he told KEYE correspondent Lisa Leigh Kelly.

Trending News

The grass is a hybrid form of Bermuda known as Tifton 85 which has been growing here for 15 years, feeding Abel's 18 head of Corriente cattle. Corriente are used for team roping because of their small size and horns.

"When we opened that gate to that fresh grass, they were all very anxious to get to that," said Abel.

Three weeks ago, the cattle had just been turned out to enjoy the fresh grass, when something went terribly wrong.

"When our trainer first heard the bellowing, he thought our pregnant heifer may be having a calf or something," said Abel. "But when he got down here, virtually all of the steers and heifers were on the ground. Some were already dead, and the others were already in convulsions."

Within hours, 15 of the 18 cattle were dead.

"That was very traumatic to see, because there was nothing you could do, obviously, they were dying," said Abel.

Preliminary tests revealed the Tifton 85 grass, which has been here for years, had suddenly started producing cyanide gas, poisoning the cattle.

"Coming off the drought that we had the last two years . we're concerned it was a combination of events that led us to this," Dr. Gary Warner, an Elgin veterinarian and cattle specialist who conducted the 15 necropsies, told Kelly.

What is more worrisome: Other farmers have tested their Tifton 85 grass, and several in Bastrop County have found their fields are also toxic with cyanide. However, no other cattle have died.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are dissecting the grass to determine if there might have been some strange, unexpected mutation.

Until it can be determined why this grass suddenly began producing cyanide, Abel is keep his livestock far away.

"The grasshoppers are enjoying it now," he said.

CORRECTION: As originally published, this story referred to Tifton 85 grass as a genetically-modified product, which is incorrect it is actually a hybrid of Bermuda grass.



Comments:

  1. Mikagore

    In my opinion you are not right. I am assured. Let's discuss.

  2. Douzil

    This will be the last straw.

  3. Benoni

    I think that is the mistake. I can prove.

  4. Mames

    Why don't you make a section - a directory of subject articles?

  5. Machakw

    Wonderful phrase and timely

  6. Gavin

    Won't go that way.

  7. Harlen

    You are not the expert?



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