Larkspur: Economic Considerations
Plains larkspur falls between the low and tall larkspur classifications. Grazing systems often must be modified because of larkspur. Manti ranchers try to hold their cattle off the higher elevation ranges where the tall larkspur grows until after the plants become mature and less toxic. The quality of forage available to cattle is another factor to be considered in looking at the full cost of grazing larkspur-infested ranges. The larkspur-infested area had been divided into several pastures for grazing management. One of these pastures was grazed sparingly in most years because of the threat of severe larkspur losses. Sheep grazing of larkspur patches prior to cattle turn-in has shown varied results in reducing the threat of cattle poisoning. Conditioned feed aversion may allow cattle to graze larkspur ranges without the threat of poisoning. Preliminary results indicate that cattle can be conditioned to avoid eating tall larkspur. Various feed supplements have been used by ranchers who graze cattle on larkspur ranges.