Schroeder has these recommendations for safely introducing animals to canola hay or silage:
* Do not offer large amounts of canola hay or silage to stock. Introduce it slowly by replacing a part of the diet and increasing the proportion of canola fodder during a period of days, or blending it in a total mixed ration.
* For confined stock, try to offer a mixture of fodder types, at least for the first two weeks of using canola. Stock with access to dry pasture when introduced to canola fodder should have no problems.
* Watch stock for any signs of nitrate poisoning or sensitivity to light. The symptoms of nitrate poisoning are profuse scouring, a sudden drop in milk production, rough coat, and occasionally shivering and staggers. The symptoms of photosensitization are reddening or scabs on the ears, muzzle or other areas.
* Learn all you can about the history of the crop. Ask the grower how much and when nitrogen fertilizer was applied, and the level of drought stress in the crop. Fodder made from crops that were badly stressed or had high applications of top-dressed nitrogen fertilizer may have increased levels of nitrates.