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Stackyard News Jul 2010

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Volcanic Ash and Farming

SAC is assisting SEPA in collecting samples of herbage for further testing following the eruption of the Eyafjoll volcano in Iceland.

Volcanic ash cloud

The samples, collected in July and September, will be tested by scientists at SEPA and Newcastle University who previously tested herbage collected in April and May.

Those results demonstrated that there was no cause for farmers to be concerned about the potential risk to livestock from fluorosis. Volcanic Ash can contain very high levels of fluoride and while fluoride is essential in trace amounts it is toxic to both plants and animals in high concentrations, damaging teeth and bones as well as reducing milk yield.

The samples of herbage collected at sites as far spread as Shetland, Dumfries, Lewis and Forfar all contained levels within the normal range of vegetation and below levels reported to be toxic to livestock. SAC will continue to liaise with other agencies and will make any further recommendation should any new data indicate it is necessary.

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