Document Type


Publication Date



drought, high nitrate feed, feeding programs, cattle

Extension Number

ExEx 2034


Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering


When drought hits and feed is short, producers wonder if they can provide high nitrate feeds to their cattle. The answer is “Yes, if you know what you’re doing.” Nitrates can be very dangerous to cattle, causing reduced performance, abortions, and death. Know the toxicity symptoms and toxic levels of nitrates before using high nitrate feedstuffs in your feeding program. Refer to SDSU Extension Extra 4015 (Nitrate Poisoning of Livestock) for specifics regarding nitrate poisoning and guidelines for safe nitrate levels in animal diets. While nitrates feeds are dangerous to cattle, they can be fed if properly managed. Toxic effects of nitrates are related to amount and rate of ingestion of the nitrate ion.


August 2002.