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March 28, 2002

Report from Jimmy Henning, Extension Forage Specialist
Department of Agronomy
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Twelve horse farms and one hay farm are being monitored for several soil, pasture and environmental parameters thought to be related to the MRLS outbreak of 2001. As of March 28, all farms have had 2 cycles of sampling completed. Forage samples are analyzed for fungal mycotoxins, alkaloids associated with tall fescue, cyanide and minerals. Soil samples are checked for populations of yeasts and molds.

Fungal mycotoxins: 72 samples have been submitted with 57 results returned. All data are below detectable limits.

Alkaloids associated with tall fescue: 119 samples submitted, 100 results returned. All levels are low and within normal ranges for early spring.

Cyanide associated with white clover: 53 submitted, 34 returned. Most levels are low and within normal ranges for early spring. Some white clover samples have slightly elevated cyanide contents, but with no adverse effects.

Forage mineral content (including nitrate): 48 submitted, 26 returned. All samples are within normal ranges for early spring.

Soil microbial count: Counts for yeasts and molds are variable but within a normally expected range.

Horses from these pastures have experienced no MRLS symptoms.

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