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Fenceline: July 19, 2012

by Jody G. Holthaus
Meadowlark Extension Agent
Livestock & Natural Resources 

This morning, I woke up to the sound of thunder, and I saw lightning.

The western sky was dark and then I saw a beautiful rainbow, that meant someone was getting some rain. We seem to be living on the wrong side of the rainbow!

The causes of harmful algal blooms are not completely understood. They are related to increased nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in water, but the exact relationships between nutrient concentrations and blooms are complex and difficult to predict.

The causes of harmful algal blooms are not completely understood. They are related to increased nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in water, but the exact relationships between nutrient concentrations and blooms are complex and difficult to predict.

Henry Hill wrote that when he was a kid, it could rain when it wasn’t in the forecast! I think maybe that was before all the elaborate radar and computer models and whatever else they have. Nowadays we can look at our phones and get the radar screens and we’re all becoming amateur meteorologists!

I’m involved in a research project with the KSU Vet College. Dr. Deon van der Merwe with the toxicology lab is looking for samples of water with possible BlueGreen Algae. The samples sent in last week were from a farm pond, that looked pretty good, except for some stagnant puddles around the edge. The test came back that it was not toxic.

The second was from cross creek. There were some isolated puddles that had the blue green tint, and looked like oil had spilled. These are the classic signs for BlueGreen Algae. That test also came back that the water was not toxic.

The causes of harmful algal blooms are not completely understood. They are related to increased nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in water, but the exact relationships between nutrient concentrations and blooms are complex and difficult to predict.

Although, agricultural nutrient runoff is a known risk factor, harmful algal blooms also are found in ponds surrounded by rangeland, where agricultural nutrient loading is rarely an issue. Other environmental factors that may favor the formation of blooms include hot, sunny weather with little wind. Ponds with relatively clear water, or low turbidity, may be more likely to produce harmful algal blooms due to high sunlight availability throughout the water column.

If you have a suspected water or creek that you are watering livestock from, give me a call and we can get it sampled for you!

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Posted by on Jul 23 2012. Filed under Columns, Fenceline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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