Develop biological and chemical methods of control or suppression of locoweeds, develop grazing strategies for the prevention of economic losses to livestock producers due to locoweed poisoning, determine the potential of rumen microflora for the detoxification of the locoweed toxin and determine the effects of locoweed poisoning on the immune response of livestock.
Locoweds (certain species of the genera Oxytropis and Astragalus) in New Mexico will be treated by different methods and at different times with various herbicides to determine efficacy and economy of the control or suppression of the plants. Certain native insect pests have shown potential for the biological control of locoweed.The environmental conditions, populations and other factors favoring these insect activities will be determined. Grazing studies using current information will be conducted to develop management strategies that will minimize the impact of locoweed on grazing livestock. In vitro and other techniques will be used to determine if microflora from the rumen of cattle consuming locoweed or from other livestock species can detoxify the locoweed toxin. Sheep will be fed locoweed to assess the effects of the toxin on the immune system.