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Ragwort question

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As per my post earlier, one clump of ragwort nearly caused me the loss of one bullock, £400 plus carcass disposal is too much to bear, as it was it cost a vet callout plus many hours of tlc to get it back eating.

 

Were tests carried out to make sure it was only the Ragwort that caused it?.... a percentage of animals get problems even on a 100% Ragwort free diet.

Some animals munch a fair amount of Ragwort with no problems as well.

cheers

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One of the problems with having ragwort in grazing land, is that it can thrive and spread, and if it spreads to hay meadows then drastic action, such as spraying might be undertaken to get rid of it, but the herbicides which effectively deal with ragwort will also do away with many species of more useful flora

 

Agree. Ragwort is more dangerous in hay but it is still dangerous in grazing. Even in lush grazing young seedlings can be eaten when small, in drought conditions ragwort plants survive better than grass, when trampled/seeded/wilted ragwort will be eaten and some animals do just get a taste for it. That’s without considering that once established ragwort is very difficult to control and seeds will build up in the field’s seed bank storing up problems for future years.

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In my time I have worked on a few stud farms and the last one in north Essex, during the summer they blitz the whole farm going on mass armed with ragwort forks,feed sacks and digging it up and burning it. On an estate in herts, one farmer would be out religiously pulling/digging ragwort and on a few occasions would photograph ragwort on other tenant farmers ground and take said photos to the estate factor complaining.

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Were tests carried out to make sure it was only the Ragwort that caused it?.... a percentage of animals get problems even on a 100% Ragwort free diet.

Some animals munch a fair amount of Ragwort with no problems as well.

cheers

 

 

Certain species are more sensitive but within each species the sex, age, diet, general health etc of each individual can affect its susceptibility to PAs and some species may be very resistant to some PAs but highly sensitive to others. It’s a minefield out there and there will always be exceptions to the rule such as animals that can apparently consume unusually large quantities of the toxic plant with no obvious side effects.

Due to the cumulative nature of damage caused by PAs animals may appear clinically normal and show no symptoms at all until months after any ragwort has been consumed. Even with a post mortem the cause of death cannot be 100% attributed to ragwort.

Websites such as the one you quoted earlier Steve suggest those wanting a proportionate level of ragwort control (within 50m of grazing/hay fields) are hysterical and in the process they are convincing people that ragwort is really nothing to worry about.

Following the guidelines of the Ragwort Code of Practice should atleast ensure that ragwort is removed only where it is judged to be a risk. Where it is not it can be left for the benefit of invertebrates.

Pasture management plays an important part in reducing ragwort in grazing but appropriate control in neighbouring areas is also important giving those who maintain grazing and/or grow forage, perhaps as their livelihood, the best chance of producing a ragwort free product.

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Ragwort is fine if it's not allowed to dominate an area but it doesn’t belong in or near livestock grazing or land used to produce preserved forage. Under the risk assessment outlined in the Ragwort Code of Practice removal of ragwort is usually only required within 50m of grazing land/land used to produce forage.

 

 

"Doesn't belong near livestock or grazing". That's an interesting perspective and unfortunately it seems quite stereotypical of the modern mainstream agricultural sector where the cost of intensive agriculture is to decimate all that stands in its way regardless of the unintended consequences?

 

Could it be argued that grazing "doesn't belong" where nature would otherwise find an equilibrium? Or, as has been suggested in the thread, that animals have an inherent "knowledge" of what should be avoided?

 

Or is there a middle ground?

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"Doesn't belong near livestock or grazing". That's an interesting perspective and unfortunately it seems quite stereotypical of the modern mainstream agricultural sector where the cost of intensive agriculture is to decimate all that stands in its way regardless of the unintended consequences?

 

Could it be argued that grazing "doesn't belong" where nature would otherwise find an equilibrium? Or, as has been suggested in the thread, that animals have an inherent "knowledge" of what should be avoided?

 

Or is there a middle ground?

 

 

 

 

First just a quick correction of the quote, I wrote “doesn’t belong in or near livestock grazing” not "doesn't belong near livestock or grazing“

 

Domestication and selective breeding of stock complicates the issue of instinctive behaviour, this article is interesting http://www.cals.uidaho.edu/sustag/launchbaugh.pdf

Not all farmers fit the stereotype you describe, for example this award winning farm manages to help wildlife to thrive https://www.buglife.org.uk/blog/matt-shardlow-ceo/controlled-life-and-wildlife despite not tolerating thistles, docks, nettles and ragwort.

Few are suggesting eradication or decimation of any native species and I totally agree there's always middle ground.

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Personally, I think Ragwort has been a great tool for encouraging control (actually, let's call it total eradication) via excessive chemical warfare upon the natural environment.... from the likes (unlikes) of Monsanto, etc.

 

And yeah - I'm sure the weird breeding regime plays a part.... we'll probably be advised to kill those toxic docks soon enough because the new breed of cow that needs milking 6 times per day has somehow grown a 'toxic intolerance to docks' gene..... but they can fix that by mixing in a bit of jellyfish.

Cheers, steve

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First just a quick correction of the quote, I wrote “doesn’t belong in or near livestock grazing” not "doesn't belong near livestock or grazing“

 

 

 

OK, sorry 'bout that, not sure there's enough difference to worry about but maybe that's a confusion from forum discussion that wouldn't happen in real time talking.

 

Domestication and selective breeding of stock complicates the issue of instinctive behaviour, this article is interesting http://www.cals.uidaho.edu/sustag/launchbaugh.pdf

 

 

Domestication & "selective breeding", or genetic modification to put it another way, perhaps rather than "complicating the issue of instinctive behaviour", might, from an alternative perspective, be considered a cause of the problem rather than a complication?

 

Not all farmers fit the stereotype you describe, for example this award winning farm manages to help wildlife to thrive https://www.buglife.org.uk/blog/matt-shardlow-ceo/controlled-life-and-wildlife despite not tolerating thistles, docks, nettles and ragwort.

 

 

Maybe the stereotype is actually reinforced by the exceptional "award winning" status of someone doing good? What does that say of the non award winning mainstream?

 

Few are suggesting eradication or decimation of any native species and I totally agree there's always middle ground

 

"Few" is probably too many..,,

 

.

 

 

Apol's for putting my text inside the quote but wanted to take each point in turn and limited to iPhone at mo.

 

Not looking to lock horns Sue, just trying to take a look through both ends of the telescope.

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Personally, I think Ragwort has been a great tool for encouraging control (actually, let's call it total eradication) via excessive chemical warfare upon the natural environment.... from the likes (unlikes) of Monsanto, etc.

 

And yeah - I'm sure the weird breeding regime plays a part.... we'll probably be advised to kill those toxic docks soon enough because the new breed of cow that needs milking 6 times per day has somehow grown a 'toxic intolerance to docks' gene..... but they can fix that by mixing in a bit of jellyfish.

Cheers, steve

 

 

👍🏻 I hear that!

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Personally, I think Ragwort has been a great tool for encouraging control (actually, let's call it total eradication) via excessive chemical warfare upon the natural environment.... from the likes (unlikes) of Monsanto, etc.

 

And yeah - I'm sure the weird breeding regime plays a part.... we'll probably be advised to kill those toxic docks soon enough because the new breed of cow that needs milking 6 times per day has somehow grown a 'toxic intolerance to docks' gene..... but they can fix that by mixing in a bit of jellyfish.

Cheers, steve

 

Steve, I am with you as a total cynic, if I am told that something is poisoning us my immediate response is "are we dying like flies? Someone is trying to sell me something I do not need"

 

However I have seen what I have seen and I believe in my own eyes. Many of our fields are in Higher Level Stewardship, we have made a great effort to encourage Hay Rattle, Tormentil, Meadow Vetchling, Adders Tongue Fern among others, I am glad to say with some succcess and if you heard HRH Prince Charles on the radio this morning we are just in the kindergarten of meadow restoration, but the yellow peril still has no place for me. It is a weed and I have been endowed with the certainty that is does not belong in my pastures or meadows, when I see fields infested with it, my thoughts are that someone has let things slip, it is a plant of derelict areas, and as long as the derelict areas more than 500 metres from and ground that that I have to look after then I can get some sleep.

 

Im not some table thumping evangelist, just an everyday Joe, doing what seems to be right and I cant see much middle ground between us, Im all for butterflies and bees, but if we can agree that letting either thistledown or Ragwort seed float on the wind to your neighbor who doesn't want them is generally to be avoided then Im happy.

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