05/30/2001 12:00AM

U. of Kentucky surveying farms

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - University of Kentucky researchers have begun surveying central Kentucky farms in the hope of uncovering factors involved in mare reproductive loss syndrome. The syndrome has killed at least 1,200 early- and late-term fetuses and foals in central Kentucky since April 26.

Researchers said last week they believe cyanide from wild cherry trees caused the abortions, but they are still trying to determine how affected mares became exposed to the poison.

A research team headed by Dr. Roberta Dwyer will contact and visit some 150 farms for the survey, which includes questions about farm and pasture management. All the farms to be surveyed have at least 20 mares representing several breeds, and the survey will include farms that were affected by the syndrome as well as some that were not.