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Author Topic: Ragwort  (Read 5197 times)

Buttermilk

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Ragwort
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2021, 08:14:21 pm »
We have plenty of cinnabar moths and the caterpillars seem very happy on groundsel.

I have had the heartbreak of nursing and losing ponies that had been grazing ragwort before coming here.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: over-crowded already. You really don't want to live here actually.
Re: Ragwort
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2021, 09:24:13 pm »
"The general public as well as landowners and farmers should be aware of or have an understanding of the legal implications outlined in the Weeds Act 1959 and what obligations you have if ragwort is found to be growing on your land. The law states that you may be legally obliged to clear and prevent the spread of ragwort. Failure to do so is a criminal offence and you may face legal proceedings as a result."

I'm not going to argue over whether folk can live with their wagwort:  I'm just reporting what I've read!
« Last Edit: August 26, 2021, 09:49:02 pm by arobwk »

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Ragwort
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2021, 01:32:38 am »
I allow it to grow round the house/garden/yard, removing flower heads as they go over, before seeding.
But none allowed in the fields.

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Ragwort
« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2021, 11:52:38 am »
We have plenty of cinnabar moths and the caterpillars seem very happy on groundsel.

I have had the heartbreak of nursing and losing ponies that had been grazing ragwort before coming here.


I find that interesting as you see loads of apparently healthy equines grazing fields with little grass and loads of ragwort growing; but they won't touch it.
In addition - my grandfather used to plough with horses so had kept horses all his life and would have been very aware of what could harm them. Yet he had ragwort growing profusely in his paddocks - apparently with no ill effects.  I can remember staying at my grandparent's when I was very young and seeing a pasture filled with ragwort, and a horse happily grazing there. (I actually remember most, all the striped caterpillars eating the yellow plants.) Now apparently an equine has to eat @ 7% of its body weight in ragwort before the ragwort will harm it. So I'm really intrigued to know how the ponies that you nursed (so presumably more than 1) came to eat so much ragwort that it actually killed them. Was it in hay, as opposed to the living plant? Or if they actually ate the growing plant - what was it that made them eat it ?
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: Ragwort
« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2021, 12:01:08 pm »
We have plenty of cinnabar moths and the caterpillars seem very happy on groundsel.

I have had the heartbreak of nursing and losing ponies that had been grazing ragwort before coming here.


I find that interesting as you see loads of apparently healthy equines grazing fields with little grass and loads of ragwort growing; but they won't touch it.
In addition - my grandfather used to plough with horses so had kept horses all his life and would have been very aware of what could harm them. Yet he had ragwort growing profusely in his paddocks - apparently with no ill effects.  I can remember staying at my grandparent's when I was very young and seeing a pasture filled with ragwort, and a horse happily grazing there. (I actually remember most, all the striped caterpillars eating the yellow plants.) Now apparently an equine has to eat @ 7% of its body weight in ragwort before the ragwort will harm it. So I'm really intrigued to know how the ponies that you nursed (so presumably more than 1) came to eat so much ragwort that it actually killed them. Was it in hay, as opposed to the living plant? Or if they actually ate the growing plant - what was it that made them eat it ?

Horses won't normally eat live growing ragwort as it has a bitter taste, but when dried and in amongst hay there is no taste other than the hay so they eat it unknowingly. It still has the same toxic qualities though whether live or dried
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Ragwort
« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2021, 01:30:15 pm »
Hence my question - Doganjo! We are all aware  ( presumably) of its toxicity whether fresh or dried. My point is that horses won't eat it fresh. But Buttermilk said that the ponies had "grazed" the stuff and that's what I find worrying. I'm therefore wondering if there were some unusual circumstances which caused the ponies to eat something they would normally not touch, while it was still growing, or whether it was in fact hay that they ate.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2021, 01:31:51 pm by landroverroy »
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Ragwort
« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2021, 10:20:46 pm »
Ragwort has two growing stages, of which the earlier is a flat rosette.  Horses kept on starvation paddocks - as many owners do these days, in the war on laminitis (huge topic, not going into that here....) - may not have much choice about what they munch, and can't see the ragwort rosettes to avoid them.

Ragwort poisons over a period, toxins building up in the liver.  I have heard a couple of stories where vets have decreed that the ragwort standing in the field was the culprit for a sudden death - in cattle as well as equines - but that makes no sense whatsoever to me.  Horses which are poisoned by ragwort develop symptoms over time, they are not healthy one day and dead the next.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Buttermilk

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Ragwort
« Reply #22 on: August 28, 2021, 04:09:20 pm »
We have plenty of cinnabar moths and the caterpillars seem very happy on groundsel.

I have had the heartbreak of nursing and losing ponies that had been grazing ragwort before coming here.


I find that interesting as you see loads of apparently healthy equines grazing fields with little grass and loads of ragwort growing; but they won't touch it.
In addition - my grandfather used to plough with horses so had kept horses all his life and would have been very aware of what could harm them. Yet he had ragwort growing profusely in his paddocks - apparently with no ill effects.  I can remember staying at my grandparent's when I was very young and seeing a pasture filled with ragwort, and a horse happily grazing there. (I actually remember most, all the striped caterpillars eating the yellow plants.) Now apparently an equine has to eat @ 7% of its body weight in ragwort before the ragwort will harm it. So I'm really intrigued to know how the ponies that you nursed (so presumably more than 1) came to eat so much ragwort that it actually killed them. Was it in hay, as opposed to the living plant? Or if they actually ate the growing plant - what was it that made them eat it ?
When a riding school closed down several of the ponies came to us at the RDA.  Within two years all had died from liver disease.  Apparently the riding school fields were full of ragwort and the vet reckoned that the long term exposure was the cause.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: over-crowded already. You really don't want to live here actually.
Re: Ragwort
« Reply #23 on: August 28, 2021, 06:18:49 pm »
I've been doing a bit of ragwort research: 

It seems all ragwort species are poisonous (pyrrolizidine alkaloids) with the poison having a cumulative effect on liver function over time (as reported by others).
It is best to mechanically pull ragwort no later than its "rosette" stage of growth:  seemingly after that, there is every chance that enough root will be left to regenerate (which might explain why roadsides are harbouring more ragwort year an year !?)  So pull early TASers.
To note that Comfrey and Butterbur also contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids !
If one feels the need to apply a herbicide, apply when plant is young or is just regenerating new seasonal growth.

[Ragwort has its ecological "place":  I don't suppose any of us would want to completely eradicate it from the UK, but a bit more control would be a good thing me thinks.]






Glencairn

  • Joined Jun 2017
  • Dumfriesshire
Re: Ragwort
« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2021, 07:47:55 pm »
I'm ok with removing ragwort off my ground because none of my neighbours are, so the caterpillars wont go hungry.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Ragwort
« Reply #25 on: August 30, 2021, 09:42:49 am »
Interestingly, this came up on my FaceAche feed this morning

Quote
As I join the ranks of people baling and burning their winter standing hay because it's infested with ergot, it does make me wonder how much of the idiopathic liver damage we usually blame on ragwort is actually caused by mycotoxins in forage that are usually completely overlooked :(


Pic of ergot in @Zan's post here
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Ragwort
« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2021, 11:32:25 am »
Exactly! So much liver damage is blamed on ragwort because it is actually very difficult to prove what has caused the damage. So if there's ragwort growing in a field that must be the answer - even though most animals won't touch the live plant, and it also takes an awful lot to kill an animal.
Contrary to popular belief - the toxins in ragwort do not accumulate in the liver.They are gradually broken down. But the damage done to the liver by the toxins can build up if an animal is constantly eating the plant as in hay. If only small amounts are eaten, the liver is able to regenerate itself.
There are however many other poisonous things that animals will eat readily such as laurel, sycamore seeds, acorns etc. Even elder leaves are classed as poisonous yet I've watched my sheep and donkeys tucking in to them before I realised. But I have some ragwort in the field also - so if any of them had developed liver problems the ragwort would automatically have got the blame. 
 
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

edstrong

  • Joined Jun 2015
Re: Ragwort
« Reply #27 on: August 31, 2021, 08:10:19 pm »
At least ragwort is easy to see!

Here at Tipton's Croft in Shropshire we leave the ragwort in the margins and scrub areas as it is so good for the wildlife (the Cinnabar moth is entirely dependent on it) but we pull it from the meadow that gets cut for hay and each year there is less and less. This year very little at all.

 

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