Fertiliser overuse kills cattle in Kapurthala; 20 dead in a week

  • Parampreet Singh Narula, Hindustan Times, Kapurthala
  • Updated: Aug 05, 2015 11:08 IST

At least 11 animals of a dairy farm here were found dead on Tuesday morning, after a suspected overdose of nitrogen contained in the fodder.

As many as 20 cattle, including cows and buffaloes, have died due to nitrate poisoning in the district in the past one week, with official figures putting the yearly toll at 250.

Animal husbandry department officials say the problem has been caused as "greedy" farmers, in order to boost the growth of crops, started using huge amount of urea and other fertilisers in their fields.
The officials say the overuse of fertilisers has resulted in an increase of poison in the land, which reaches animal bodies through fodder, and caused problems like difficult respiration, sub-normal temperature and muscular tremors in them.

They say humans, who consume the produce, are at risk as well.

Meanwhile, the government is providing all test and treatment facilities in all the veterinary hospitals to save animals from nitrate poisoning. Hospitals are also being provided with the facility of checking nitrogen content in fodder.

The animal husbandry department is also organising awareness camps.

Dr Satpal Singh, deputy director of animal husbandry, Kapurthala, said crops like small berseem, toria and sarson have high content of nitrate and advised farmers to mix wheat straw with green fodder before feeding it to the animals.

"Farmers should also take soil samples and get it checked for presence of nitrate content from the nearest laboratory before adding fertilisers and urea into the soil," he said.

Singh asked farmers to avoid cutting the lower portion of fodder crop as the portion has a huge nitrate content.

He also asked farmers to avoid "home remedies" and get in touch with the nearest veterinary officer for the treatment of the sick animals.

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