The dangers of ragwort

17 Jul 2019

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.
Background image - Istock 542813776

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.