In pastures, 2,4-D weed killer is often employed since it is an effective broadleaf herbicide. LV 400 2,4-D is a variant of 2,4-D that is classified as a “low volatile ester.” There does not seem to be any study examining the effects of the weed killer LV-400 2,4-D on horses; however, research concentrating on other species does show that there may be some potential adverse effects. Although there are no official grazing limitations associated with the use of 2,4-D for horses, it is recommended that susceptible individuals, such as broodmares and foals, be kept away from the pasture for a period of seven days as a “better safe than sorry” measure.
Effects of 2,4-D in Animals
Studies have revealed that excessive levels of ingested 2,4-D might cause reproductive issues and birth malformations in certain animals, as stated by the National Pest Information Center. On the other hand, there was no indication of the kinds of animals that were used in the investigations. In addition, a research that was conducted in 1970 and first published in the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology looked at the circumstances behind the deaths of three animals—two sheep and a young heifer—all of which had been subjected to 2,4-D. The necropsies demonstrated damage to the kidneys and the thyroid, in addition to a high BUN (blood urea nitrogen).
According to a number of studies, consumption of polluted water by canines and felines might result in adverse effects on both the gastrointestinal and brain systems. It seems that there may be a connection between the amount of body weight and susceptibility to 2,4-D. Because horses have larger body weights than cats, dogs, sheep, and young cows, researchers have not yet investigated the impact of LV 400 2,4-D on horses. This might be because cats, dogs, sheep, and young cows all have lower body weights than horses.
2,4-D Grazing Restrictions for Horses
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that limits on livestock grazing differ depending on the kind of crop that is being treated as well as the purpose for which the animal will be used. For at least two weeks after grain fields have been treated with 2,4-D, animals that are destined for slaughter or the manufacture of dairy products should not be permitted to graze in those areas. The time limit for dairy cows that are allowed to graze on grass pastures is reduced to seven days, while the time limit for slaughter-bound animals is reduced to three days.
These rules do not apply to horses since they are neither utilised for dairy production nor raised for the purpose of being slaughtered. Although individual product labels may suggest a grazing limit of seven to fourteen days depending on the other active components, Rutgers University has confirmed that there is no restriction on the number of days that horses may graze on grass that has been treated with 2,4-D. Because Gordon’s states that 2,4-D has to dry before horses may safely graze on it, you should avoid spraying areas that already have horses in them. Hay that has been treated with 2,4-D in the field should not be cut for at least one month before being collected, as recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Because of all of these factors, it is important to remove broodmares, foals, tiny ponies, and dwarf horses from pastures that have been sprayed with products containing 2,4-D for at least seven days following the treatment. Because the half-life of 2,4-D in soil is seven days, by that time it will have severely degraded from its original state. Because of the potential for this herbicide to pollute water, it is important to rinse out water buckets and troughs after spraying. According to the EPA, the herbicide 2,4-D has a half-life of around two weeks in aerobic water (such as that which has an oxygen pump installed), but it may remain in stagnant, anaerobic water for up to a year. If the pasture contains a pond, you should take this information into consideration.
2,4-D Alternative Herbicides and Strategies
Because of the potential damage it can cause to nearby broadleaf crops, products containing 2,4-D may be subject to restrictions in certain regions. This is not due to any health concerns regarding horses, humans, or livestock; rather, this is because of the potential damage it can cause to nearby broadleaf crops. For instance, many parishes in Louisiana have banned the use of 2,4-D during the summer months. This is done to avoid aerosol droplets from causing damage to agricultural fields that are located nearby when they are actively developing.
You could have the option of selecting a different kind of broadleaf herbicide that has a lower risk of damaging crops in the surrounding area. Other broadleaf herbicides that are acceptable for use in pastures, according to research conducted by the University of Kentucky, include aminopyralid, metsulfuron methyl, chlorsulfon, and many more. Despite this, the cost of 2,4-D per acre is still one of the most affordable options among all broadleaf herbicides.
It is important to keep in mind that the suggestions might change at any moment. According to Food Tank, it is now unlawful to use another common broadleaf pesticide known as dicamba everywhere in the country. Before purchasing and using them, you should make sure that they are not restricted in your region, and you should also read the label very carefully to familiarise yourself with any grazing limitations that may be required after using them.