thank you for posting this. It is pretty sobering information, not only for our horses, but also for those of us who sell/give our manure away.
Once this info gets out, no one will want it, and the costs for removal will skyrocket.
Since this review was published, compost contamination problems have been documented with an herbicide known as "clopyralid" in Ohio, Washington, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and California. This herbicide, produced by Dow AgroSciences, is sold under the following trade names: Reclaim, Stinger, Transline, Confront, Lontrel, Curtail, and Millenium Ultra. It is used to control broadleaf weeds, including Canada thistle, perennial sow-thistle, coltsfoot, and other species primarily on rangeland, grass pastures, lawns, non-cropland areas, and rights-of-way.
The problem is that, unlike most pesticides, clopyralid is very persistent in composts and manures and is largely unaffected by the composting process. Most plants are not damaged by clopyralid, even at rates used on lawns and agricultural crops. However, plants in the bean family (Leguminosae), the potato/tomato family (Solonaceae), and the sunflower family (Compositae) are very sensitive to this herbicide. It can stunt tomato, clover, lettuce, pea, lentil, sunflower, pepper, and bean plants at levels in compost as low as 10 parts per BILLION! Since the level of clopyralid on grass the day of application is 10,000 to 50,000 ppb, even a small amount of contaminated material entering a composting facility or directly applied to sensitive crops can cause major problems.
Clopyralid residues at levels well above those capable of injuring certain plants have been detected in grass clippings, straw, leaves, manure and bedding, and finished composts. The states of Washington and California recently banned clopyralid use in residential lawn care for this reason. Species in the Leguminosae, Solonaceae, and Compositae are so sensitive that a small amount of clopyralid-treated grass, collected along with leaves in the fall, has been shown to contain enough clopyralid to stunt growth. The most sensitive plants to clopyralid are red clover, sunflower, peas, and tomato (Table 2).
It is unreal the crap that gets "approved" to use on the foodstuffs for us and our animals. The only thing I feed my horses that might be a problem is alfalfa pellets but since it seems to damage other legumes perhaps it can't be used on alfalfa. Our hay guy does not use herbicides on his hay. Our local oats are OK I'm pretty certain. I have no idea how to prevent this other than buy organic and that is so much more expensive. I make compost and use it for gardening.
As more resistance to the common herbicides becomes a problem, farmers will use the increasingly more potent ones. In our area a mix of 24D and Roundup no longer kills many weeds.
Great. Just great. I was planning on growing potatoes, tomatoes and Sunflowers (for oil) at my hobby farm using composted horse manure from my horses. I was going to experiment with generating methane from the manure/bedding woodchips and having high quality compost for the crops.
How common is clopyralid contamination of hay? I suppose hay growers would use the stuff to fight weeds in their hayfields. I'm going to be really annoyed if I can't use the compost...
• Recently, a Vermont composting facility reported that off-the-shelf Purina horse feed had tested for the herbicide clopyralid at levels between 142 ppb and 465 ppb (.142-.465 ppm). We have not independently verified the accuracy of these tests.
• Land O’Lakes Purina Feed has not confirmed the presence of any harmful pesticide residues in our horse feed, and our customers have not reported any related problems or complaints concerning their horses
• The indicated levels of residues reported fall well within the tolerance levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency for residues on various types of grains/commodities that are used in the animal feed formulations.
• Even though these residues at these levels are not harmful to the health of horses, the existence of various chemicals in manure may cause the manure to interact with compost in a way that could be harmful to plants. Consumers having difficulty related to their composting issues should contact their local horticultural expert.
I guess my "whole grain" feed program is a good thing, then.
And...as my garden is riotously taking over my yard, I guess I'm herbicide-residue-free in my composted manure!
If this includes growing your own hay and maintaining your own pastures, then yes, you should have a good idea about what is going into your horses / manure. All bets are off, though, if you buy hay from elsewhere. If a hay grower had to spray for carolina nettle, then he had to use one of the listed herbicides.
"Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
- Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926
I used to live near Purina hdqtrs. I took the tours. And there were animals they would not let us see and animals we saw that looked not so good on their products.
I wouldn't believe anything that purina said about it's products based upon what I saw there and what people who worked there told me.
I use Seminole for horses. And cook "human" food for dogs and cats. Still not perfect, but well, I know purina, and I don't use the products made by that company.
Now Purina does use local products in its mills. I have a friend who was buddy of the guy who owned the mill over in Vidalia. She got her feeds blended there. So I guess it depends on where you live and what Purina buys from the locals.