Where fields are infested with ragwort, a combined programme of spraying and hand-pulling is the only way to eradicate it, believes Norfolk based agronomist Peter Kane. Couple that with the fact that ragwort Is considered to be a top nectar-producing plant in the UK and you might wonder why all the fuss. There are plenty of plants cows shouldn’t eat, and if you are going to have any amount of cattle, you need to know what they are. Grazing systems with sheep or goats will usually prevent ragwort domination of pasture, but in dairy and cattle-only systems this is not feasible. The best time to spray is in the fall when new seedlings are in the rosette stage or in the spring before the plants bolt. Make double passes, in opposite directions. The easiest way of tackling a widespread infestation is to spray the paddocks, but you must rest the field for the recommended time after treatment. In a letter to Vet Record, Aug 7, West Midlands vet Steve Borsberry warns of the dangers of feeding grass silage contaminated with ragwort. Symptoms can be mild, but it most cases they are severe and can be fatal. Horses and cows are especially susceptible to this poisonous weed with death occurring after consuming 3-8% of body weight. The more ragwort that is eaten the greater the damage. Tansy ragwort has long tormented rural landowners who graze livestock. Because there is more ragwort about during July and August, second or third cut silage is more likely to be contaminated than first cut. Jacobaea vulgaris commonly known as ragwort, common ragwort, tansy ragwort, benweed, St. James-wort, ragweed, stinking nanny/ninny/willy, staggerwort, dog standard, cankerwort, mare’s fart, cushag, stinking willie and stinking nanny is a very common wild flower in the daisy family (Asteraceae). In cattle most cases of ragwort poisoning occur as a result of eating ragwort over a period of weeks or months but the signs can take up to 18 months to develop. On one farm attended by Mr Borsberry, 18 cattle have been destroyed due to liver failure resulting from ragwort poisoning from silage. "The first line of action is spraying. Within a few hours, only three were still alive. Around 2kg of active growing plant is enough to take out a dairy cow. 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