As some of you know I am part of a group that offers consults for small startup farms, We received a call from a very nice man wanting to start raising a few calves for finishing and he asked us to come evaluate his pastures before he brought in any livestock. What we found when we got there was a tragedy waiting to happen! He had a toxic Garden on that 5 acres! Oleanders along the fence, Nicotiana(Tree Tobacco) near outbuildings, Locust and Chinaberry trees, Nightshades and Star Thistle in the pasture itself, not to mention salt cedars, ragweed, and Fiddle heads. We showed him how to remove the biggest hazards without the use of poisons and suggested fencing off some of the trees so that the animals could not gain access, He is blessed to be able to irrigate so we gave him a few suggestions about what to plant and how to maintain healthy pasturage year round, Nick Volunteered to go out and plow for him and bring in some well cured mulch from the dairy, NICE!
I'm sure glad that he called us rather than just jumping right in blind! he could have ended up with some very sick animals or worse! Here are some stock photos of some of the toxic species I mentioned, so that those of you considering doing some small scale farming yourselves know what to watch for, some of these plants and trees are beautiful, but your livestock will be just as dead! UC Davis has a very comprehensive list of toxic plants that you can review at your leisure as well.
tree Tobacco locust nightshade ragweed Fiddlehead salt cedarStar thistle, there are both yellow and purple varieties.