Several sightings of ergot have been confirmed in Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa. I came across this topic in an article, “Cattleowners urged to watch for ergot poisoning, August 25, 2013″
Conditions are right. Early Moisture | Afternoon Heat
Climatic conditions are key to ergot’s presence, and they were ideal in some parts of the state this year. Early moisture followed by heat causes certain grasses – especially rye, but also brome, wheatgrass and others – to grow quickly and develop seed heads faster than cattle can consume them. Ergot then can move in and infect the seed heads. Source: “Cattleowners urged to watch for ergot poisoning, August 25, 2013″
Producers should watch their animals for tips of ears and tails falling off as the fungus can shut off the blood flow to extremities, Randle said. As it progresses, it can affect cattle’s feet, causing them to become lame, or cause swelling in the tops of hooves. Rear legs are typically most affected. Source: “Cattleowners urged to watch for ergot poisoning, August 25, 2013″
Ergot is not fatal, but it can make cattle less tolerant to heat.