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K-State Research and Extension

High temps, sunlight heighten risk of blue-green algae in farm ponds  

What we are doing

Kansas State University specialists and local extension agents are providing timely information to help the state’s farmers understand the risks of blue-green algae in farm ponds and other watering sources.

Blue-green algae is a cyanobacteria, or bacteria that lives off the sun. It is toxic to livestock, dogs and people. During periods of extreme heat and sunshine, blooms of cyanobacteria can build up in a pond and form into distinct blooms of bacteria, often looking like paint sliming around in the water. The paint-like texture of cyanobacteria is what differentiates it from non-harmful moss in a pond.

The harmful cyanobacteria can look green or dark green, but can turn more to a bluish tint, thus leading to its more common name as blue-green algae.

Extension professionals across Kansas are alerting producers to the dangers of blue-green algae and how to prevent harm to animals and people, including fencing off the area and avoiding the use of water from that portion of the pond or water source.

Our Impact

Kansas State University offers analysis of water samples through the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab to help landowners quickly determine if a water source is affected by blue-green algae. More information is available at http://www.ksvdl.org or by calling 866-512-5650.

Extension professionals are located in every Kansas county to help farmers and other assess the situation. They can also discuss options such as hauling water from other sources or safe ways to pipe water from other parts of a pond.

Learn more about blue-green algae by visiting the K-State Research and Extension Bookstore.

“If you think you have an at-risk pond, then start to sample right away, send those off to the lab and try to get a realistic expectation of whether it’s at risk or not.”

-- A.J. Tarpoff, Kansas State University beef veterinarian