• M. Heavenlin Conservation Biology Laboratory, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore
  • I.Kanitha christy Conservation Biology Laboratory, Bharathiar University,
  • C.Gunasekaran Conservation Biology Laboratory, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore



Nitrates transpire in drought conditions in poor pastures and reduce forage yields. Producers use barren or low producing grain crops as replacement forage. These forages may be toxic due to high nitrate level accumulation from water. Nitrate analysis from Panamarathupatti zone of Salem district revealed high level of prevalence and hence veterinarians and livestock owners should be aware of the prevailing nitrate contents in forage which would decline the health of livestock.  

Nitrate, Sorghum forage and livestock health. Nitrates in forages do not in themselves cause the poisoning of farm animals. Instead, they are converted to nitrites in the animal, and nitrites are toxic. When the temperature is high and moisture is adequate, plants may undergo a process called photorespiration. Photorespiration produces carbon dioxide rather than assimilating carbon into energy building blocks (i.e., sugars, carbohydrates, etc.). This may cause nitrates to accumulate in cows and sheep this conversion takes place in the rumen (paunch). If forage contains too much nitrate the animals cannot complete the conversion and nitrite levels build up and the animal suffers from a type of asphyxiation.


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