The DANGERS of Ragwort

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A recent case just highlights the dangers of ragwort poisoning, and we so often see horses grazing in fields that contain ragwort.

If you have ragwort growing in your field:
• Plants are best dug out, or levered out using a specially designed fork and removed and burned. 
• Ragwort should be removed from pasture prior to seeding to prevent the spread of the plants.
• The toxins can be absorbed through human skin so gloves must be worn whenever handling the plants. 
• Broad leaf herbicides can be used but avoid making hay for one month after use to allow plant to die fully. 
• Make every attempt to ensure that the source of hay or haylage used does not contain ragwort. 
• Grazing with sheep may help as they are less susceptible and will graze off the young shoots in spring. 
• Good grassland management can help. Routine blood screens can provide an early warning of disease.

Do not…
• Bury ragwort in manure heaps
• Use ragwort as animal bedding
• Dig, bury or plough ragwort into the ground
• Attempt to dry ragwort where animals could access it
• Allow seed dispersal from plants awaiting disposal
• Transport ragwort unnecessarily
• Transport ragwort unless it is in sealed bags or containers.