U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Main content area

Crude protein supplementation to reduce lupine consumption by pregnant cattle in the scablands of eastern Washington

James A. Pfister, Kip E. Panter, Stephen T. Lee
International journal of poisonous plant research 2014 v.3 pp. 26-32
Lupinus, annuals, biomass, body weight, calves, congenital abnormalities, cows, crude protein, food intake, forage, forbs, grasses, ingestion, poisonous plants, pregnancy, protein supplements, rangelands, soybean meal, summer, Washington (state)
Lupinus leucophyllus (velvet lupine) is prevalent in eastern Washington State, and when consumed by pregnant cows, it can cause “crooked calf syndrome.” Rangelands in this region are dominated by poor-quality annual grasses. The objective of this study was to determine whether feeding supplemental crude protein (CP) would reduce cattle consumption of velvet lupine during midsummer. Twelve pregnant cows were divided into 2 treatments: 6 controls received no supplement, and 6 cows received a supplement of 44% soybean meal at 4 g/kg body weight per day for 19 days in July 2010. Lupine density was >10 plants/m2. There was no supplement effect on lupine consumption (P = 0.68), nor was there a day x supplement interaction (P = 0.88). Supplemented cattle took 6.9 ± 0.7% of daily bites as lupine compared to 5.0 ± 0.6% of bites for controls. Dry grass and dry forbs were the major diet components selected by cattle. Cattle ate mostly dry grass during the first 8 days of the trial, but then their consumption of dry forbs increased substantially. Cattle switched from eating green forbs to lupine after about 1 week; this change coincided with a decrease in green forb biomass. Five calves from both treatments were born with mild to moderate birth defects. We conclude that CP supplementation had no effect on cattle consumption of lupine under these supplement and abundant-forage conditions. The combined effect of supplementation and drought (i.e., forage scarcity) on lupine consumption by cattle has not been determined.