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Environmental Stress

Temporary flooding, extended drought, and early or late season freezing of grasses can all have a significant impact on forage yield and quality. Each environmental stressor has its own concerns and management issues, and issues are specific to the grass species involved [GIS-28]. Environmental stress usually has a negative impact on forage quality. Flood-damaged crops have a higher risk of clostridial fermentation. Drought affects yield more than quality. Freezing damage to annual forage crops can encourage mold growth in corn for silage, and release toxic prussic acid in some sorghum species. As with antiquality components of forages, dilution of the forage source in the ration is one practical method of minimizing risk when feeding environmentally stressed forages.