Cyanide-producing grass kills cattle in Texas
In early June, the cattle were turned out into the pasture to graze. Soon the cattle began to bellow. Within hours, 15 of the 18 cattle were dead. Gary Warner, DVM, an Elgin veterinarian who specializes in cattle, conducted the 15 necropsies.
Preliminary tests revealed that the Tifton 85 grass suddenly started producing cyanide gas, poisoning the cattle. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are now trying to determine why. Although no other cattle have died, other farmers have found that their fields are also toxic with cyanide.