A farmer in Ayrshire has lost four heifers and seen severe illness in some of his other cattle after poisonous yew clippings were thrown over the hedge of his field.

NFU Scotland has highlighted the incident and is urging the general public to take care with their garden clippings this autumn to avoid any more accidental poisoning cases.

The union is reminding the public that clippings from shrubs and hedges – including yew, rhododendrons, aconite, boxwood, lupins, laurel and laburnum – can be poisonous if consumed by livestock.

NFU Scotland spokesman Bob Carruth said: “This unfortunate accident serves as a sharp reminder that many of our common and garden shrubs, bushes and hedges are highly dangerous to livestock if not disposed of properly.

“Clippings from these shrubs should never be thrown over the hedge into fields where cattle and sheep graze.

“To avoid livestock suffering in this manner again, we would urge all members of the public to dispose of clippings and trimmings safely this autumn, using their recycling bins or local disposal sites.”

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