Safeguarding Livestock: Perilla Mint Toxicity in Cattle

Identifying Perilla Mint

As summer months approach, so do invasive weed species. One broadleaf weed in particular can be found in pastures and hay fields and it packs a gut punch to ruminant animals and costs the cattle industry millions of dollars in sick or deceased livestock. Perilla mint, also known as Beefsteak plant, is an annual from the mint family with a square stem, shallow taproot and oval leaves with purple undersides. This plant gives off a strong odor when crushed and typically germinates in the summer months, between May and June.

Understanding the Dangers of Perilla Mint Consumption

Perilla mint is highly toxic to cattle and when consumed, can lead to severe health problems and even death. The toxins present in Perilla mint can affect the liver and cause liver damage. Additionally, it can also lead to photosensitivity, where the skin becomes sensitive to sunlight.

The main danger with Perilla mint is respiratory distress. Perilla ketones are absorbed into the bloodstream and are carried to the lungs. The ketones then damage the cell lining within the lungs, thus causing acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Treatment, at this point, is very limited. Clinical signs of respiratory distress are open-mouth breathing, stretched-out neck, foam out and around the mouth, wide stance, and aggression from stress. Other clinical signs of Perilla mint consumption are loss of appetite, weakness or lethargy, and abdominal pain. 

Livestock owners should be aware of the dangers of Perilla mint consumption and take necessary measures to prevent their cattle from grazing on pastures where this plant is present.

Implementing Preventive Measures to Safeguard Livestock

The following preventive measures can help protect your livestock from the dangers of Perilla mint toxicity:

- Regularly scout your grazing pastures for the presence of Perilla mint. If spotted, take immediate action to remove the weed.

- Educate yourself, and those working with you, about the identification of Perilla mint and the toxic effect it has on cattle.

- Implement rotational grazing practices to minimize the exposure of your cattle to Perilla mint.

- Consider fencing off areas where Perilla mint is present to prevent accidental ingestion by your livestock.

- Consult with your veterinarian.

Utilizing Gunslinger AMP for Effective Perilla Mint Control

One effective method for controlling Perilla mint in your pastures is the use of Gunslinger AMP. This herbicide is safe for use in grazing areas and has been proven to effectively reduce the presence of Perilla mint and other unwanted weeds.

When using Gunslinger AMP, it is important to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure proper application and minimize any potential risks to your livestock or the environment.

If you have more Perilla mint than grazeable forage, best practice recommends moving your cattle to a safer grazing area. After applying Gunslinger AMP on the pasture with the Perilla mint, wait until the weed is wilted and dried before turning cattle back onto the treated pasture. This may take three to five days after application but ensures the Perilla mint is dead and no longer a toxic threat to your grazing cattle. If you still have concerns, or would like more information, speak with an Alligare Range & Pasture representative

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Monitoring and Maintaining a Safe Grazing Environment

In addition to implementing preventive measures and using herbicides, it is crucial to regularly monitor and maintain a safe grazing environment for your livestock. This includes:

- Conduct regular inspections of your grazing pastures to ensure the absence of Perilla mint or any other toxic plants.

- Provide a diverse and nutritious diet for your cattle to reduce their temptation to graze on potentially harmful plants.

- Ensure proper pasture management such as an herbicide action plan, overseeding of forages, rotational grazing, and fertilization to promote healthy and abundant forage.

- Regularly check your livestock for any signs of illness or abnormal behavior that may indicate Perilla mint toxicity.

By monitoring and maintaining a safe grazing environment, you can minimize the risk of Perilla Mint toxicity and protect the health of your cattle.


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