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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: LOCOWEED RESEARCH ON RANGELANDS OF NEW MEXICO

Location: Poisonous Plant Research

Project Number: 5428-32630-012-03
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 01, 2009
End Date: Jun 30, 2014

Objective:
The objectives of this research are to: 1) Evaluate and determine the adverse effects of locoweed on cattle production in New Mexico; 2) Evaluate and develop new tools for diagnostics; 3) Determine the role of a newly identified endophyte (Undifilum) in swainsonine production and locoweed growth and longevity; 4) Better understand the rangeland ecology where locoweeds dominate and evaluate methods of control (biological and chemical); and 5) Develop integrated management approaches to improve utilization of rangelands where locoweed grows.

Approach:
This is a coordinated research approach between the USDA-ARS-Poisonous Plant Research Lab, Logan, UT and the Rangeland Research Group and College of Agriculture and Home Economics at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM. The proposed joint research will include methods to: 1) better understand the ecology of locoweeds in this region which includes the Southern High Plains and Canadian Pecos Valleys of West Texas and eastern New Mexico; 2) understand more fully the biological characteristics of the locoweeds which includes the role of a newly discovered endophyte (Undifilum) in toxin (swainsonine) production within the plant and plant hardiness; 3) develop sound methods to understand the biology of the endophyte and employ molecular tools to determine if it can be supressed; 4) reduce the toxic effects in cattle and improve rangeland utilization through grazing strategies; 5) better evaluate locoweed's effects on early reproduction in cow calf operations; 6) identify biomarkers for improved diagnostics and prognosis of locoweed poisoning; and 7) develop a holistic management program to reduce livestock losses and improve the economic stability in this region.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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