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.