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OMAFRA: Early fall has higher risks of prussic acid in sorghum forages

October 2, 2023  By Field Crop News

Be aware: members of the sorghum family – sorghum, sudangrass, and hybrid sorghum-sudangrass – contain dhurrin, a glucoside that breaks down to release hydrocyanic acid, also known as prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide, HCN). A sudden disruption of growth, such as frost, drought or cutting, causes prussic acid to be released inside the plant at a more rapid rate. High prussic acid levels may be lethal to ruminants; death often occurs within 20 minutes of ingesting sorghum forage with elevated prussic acid concentrations.

Early fall, between the first frost and the first killing frost, is the riskiest time of year for prussic acid production in sorghum species. These warm-season grasses are very frost-sensitive. It is impossible to know by looking at them how much prussic acid is present in the plants. Click here to read the answers to some frequently asked questions related to managing sorghum species and frost. |READ MORE



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