Forages are a critical part of farming and ranching, and a large variety of grasses and legumes are available for planting in our fields. The more we know about these forages, the better we can choose what we grow and manage it for grazing livestock or hay production. Understanding scientific names botanists give plants can help us keep track of the different forages.
Poisonous plants are a major cause of economic loss to the livestock industry. Two poisonous plants common to Oregon are poison hemlock and Western water hemlock. Ingestion of either by humans or livestock typically results in death.
Poison hemlock is one of the most poisonous of plants. Silage making has been used to reduce the concentrations of toxins in a variety of crops. Poison hemlock alkaloids are found in different concentrations depending on several factors that make it virtually impossible to predict how dangerous the plant is at any given time.