Cry alarm . . . killer loose . . .

TitleCry alarm . . . killer loose . . .
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1961
AuthorsAres F.N.
JournalNew Mexico Stockman
Date Published1961
Keywordscattle ranching, chemical changes, disease, drought, poisonous weeds
AbstractAttractive as it appears, cattle ranching may sometimes be likened to gambling against a stacked deck. Uncertain markets plague the budget; the inevitable and dreaded drought, ever lurking around the corner, brings setbacks, death losses, extra feed, labor costs, and many other extraordinary burdens. On the other hand, when welcome rain does finally come and the hills and valleys take on that beautiful green color, elation is tempered by knowing that "tares must grow with the wheat," specifically, poisonousweeds. At any time, the lovely green expanse is likely to be seen flecked with the bloated bodies of dead cattle. This is a sight calculated to take the joy out of life. An ironical twist of this play from the stacked deck lies in the calamity stemming from a totally unexpected source. It can and oftendoes happen; an analogy is the death-dealing plague of 1918. A virulent form of a disease thought to be relatively harmless, the terrible "flu" epidemic swept the world, claiming more victims than the world war just preceding. So too in the plant kingdom a variety of subjects, usually weeds ordinarily harmless, grazed and relished by livestock as good forage, will suddenly turn traitor. Chemical changes occurring under climatic or other conditions affecting plant growth can transform these weeds overnight into deadly killers. Another deal from the stacked deck--the plant known to be toxic but by its infrequent and scattered occurrence presents no immediate threat. Comes a severe drought or some other disturbing factor and the inhibitor is removed. The erstwhile harmless plant then burgeons into dense colonies, its very abundance enhancing the hazard a thousandfold. It is then taken in lethal quantities by cattle; result, severe losses by a "new" killer plant.