Welcome to the Master Grazer Educational Program

-an educational program to improve grazing practices in beef, dairy, goat and sheep herds


Grazing News Articles

Articles on forages, animals, and grazing systems

Additional Resources


Extension Publications


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Master Grazer Educational Program reports to KY Ag Development Fund Board:

2016 Third Quarter Report
2016 Second Quarter Report
2016 First Quarter Report
2015-2016 Bi-Annual Report
2013-2014 Bi-annual Report
2012 Annual Accomplishments
2011 Annual Accomplishments




Zach Workman

Master Grazer Coordinator
821B W.P. Garrigus Building
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY
(859) 257-7512
E-mail: zewo222@uky.edu

Faculty Coordinators:

Dr. Ray Smith

Extension Forage Specialist
University of Kentucky
Phone: (859) 257-3358
Fax: (859) 323-1952  
Email: raysmith1@uky.edu

Dr. Donna Amaral-Phillips

Extension Dairy Cattle Specialist
University of Kentucky
Phone: (859) 257-7542
Fax: (859) 257-7537  
Email: damaral@uky.edu

Dr. Jeff Lehmkuhler

Extension Beef Cattle Specialist
University of Kentucky
Phone: (859) 257-2853
Fax: (859) 257-3412  
Email: jeff.lehmkuhler@uky.edu


Animal Management Tip of the Month– Warning for Prussic Acid or Cyanide Poisoning


Prussic acid poisoning occurs when livestock graze certain plants that contain cyanide-producing compounds. Such species include, but are not limited to, sorghum, sudangrass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, Johnsongrass, and wild cherry. Cyanide can interfere with oxygen utilization in livestock, especially if consumed in large amounts. Symptoms appear quickly after consumption and may include cherry red colored blood, staggering, labored breathing, spasms, foaming at the mouth, falling, thrashing, severe convulsions, and death. If an animal has these symptoms, seek immediate treatment by a veterinarian.


Several management tools exist to reduce the risk of prussic acid poisoning. Before turning livestock into fields with forages that are known to produce prussic acid, contact your local county extension agent to test your forages. Wait to turn out animals once possible risk forages reach 15 inches tall. Do not graze wilted plants or plants with young tillers. Do not graze for 2 weeks after a non-killing frost. For a killing frost, wait at least 48 hours or until the material is dry before grazing. Avoid applying high levels of nitrogen. Cut high risk forages for hay, as prussic acid content decreases significantly during the curing process. For silage, prussic acid escapes as a gas during fermentation but it is still advised to delay feeding silage for six to eight weeks following ensiling to allow preservation of the forage. Although these practices may reduce the risk of prussic acid poisoning, it is still important to be cautious when feeding forages with possible high prussic acid content.


Photo credit: Anna Houben and Jacy Ritchie