Nebraska issues warning on fungus danger to cattle

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska cattle producers are being warned to keep watch for a grass fungus that poses problems for livestock.

The ergot (UR’-guht) fungus has been confirmed in several nearby states, including Missouri and Iowa.

Richard Randle is a University of Nebraska-Lincoln beef veterinarian, and he says he and colleagues are aware of at least a couple of unconfirmed Nebraska reports.

Early moisture followed by heat causes certain grasses to grow quickly and develop seed heads faster than cattle can consume them. That allows ergot to flourish in the seed heads.

The tips of cattle ears and tails fall off because the fungus can hamper blood flow to extremities. Cattle also can become lame, but ergot poisoning is unlikely to be fatal.

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