Bloat is a serious problem in livestock, especially cattle, and preventative measures must be used when animals are placed in bloat-inducing situations, such as grazing alfalfa. When bloat is observed, immediately remove all animals from pasture and offer dry hay. Some individual animals have a propensity to bloat, perhaps because of their physical characteristics. Also, maintain access to dry hay or corn stalks while grazing alfalfa to help reduce bloat. Feedlot (dry) bloat usu- Under these conditions, ... information regarding feedlot bloat has included finely ground milo and loose alfalfa hay fed in separate bunks, or finely chopped alfalfa hay … Sedivec said another potential issue with grazing in the fall and winter is the effect of overgrazing on alfalfa stands. You would not have cattle on 20 lbs barley, drop them down to 5 lbs (ie, grazing down to roots) and then back up to 20 lbs. High stocking densities increase competition for the alfalfa and reduce the likelihood of any one animal selectively grazing only the top portion of the plant. Note that as alfalfa hay matures, protein levels tend to decline while its fibre content increases making it less palatable to cattle. Feed Rumensin. Pasture (frothy) bloat can occur in animals grazing wheat pasture or lush legumes (alfalfa, ladino, white clover) or being fed green-chopped legumes. However, pasture bloat continues to impede the widespread adoption of alfalfa grazing systems, although, numerous technologies are presently being tested for bloat prevention. (Also note that rams-especially ram lambs-can be at risk when eating too much alfalfa; a diet too high in protein can cause “pizzle rot,” and too much calcium can produce kidney stones). Moving during rain is not as dangerous as about two days after a rain when it is hot. Feedlot (dry) bloat usu- So waiting to graze alfalfa until well after a hard freeze is a good, safe management practice. 2. Alfalfa is one of the few forages that is capable of sustaining levels of production that are comparable to those achieved in the feedlot. Major bouts tend to occur shortly after sunrise and early in the evening. Provide grass hay or grain for the first week or two of grazing alfalfa. This is especially true … This often occurs with high-protein forages such as alfalfa or certain clovers, but can also be problem when lush cereal forages or brassicas are grazed. Pasture legumes such as alfalfa or clover cause stable foam to form and lead to bloat. Alfalfa is recognized as one of the most nutritious forages available and is widely used as conserved forage (ex, hay, silage) in the diets of beef and dairy cattle. Feedlot bloat or dry bloat is caused by excessive consumption of grain, hay cubes or hay. Although one might think that the same effect would be achieved after a good fall frost, freezing can rupture plant cell walls and increase the release of soluble protein in the plant. Anti-bloat capsules which stay in … Other legumes, including Perhaps by better understanding bloat, how to prevent it and treat it (should the need arise), livestock producers can overcome a fear of bloat. ), The National Academies Press: Agriculture, Does frost on alfalfa cause increased risk of bloat in cattle. It often occurs secondary to … Don't clip a grass-legume pasture and then immediately turn cattle out onto it. Also, although cows can feed on alfalfa, excess feed can be detrimental to health. Alfalfa (green or fed as hay) is good feed for calves or young cattle, lactating cows and pregnant cows in late gestation. Another tactic is to let the forage become more mature so it is not so lush, and graze it during the frost-free period. Uniform and regular intake is the key to managing animals on alfalfa pastures. Although this type of hay for cattle is highly beneficial, it often causes bloat in animals hence should be used with caution. Prevention of pasture bloat can be difficult. Even when sheep have been eating just hay, they can bloat due to … Agronomic strategies such as the co-cropping of bloat safe legumes (ex, sainfoin, birdsfoot trefoil) with alfalfa and wilting of the alfalfa prior to consumption are being explored for their ability to provide additional bloat protection. The Land. Winter wheat can also cause bloat when it is lush in the spring. Animals will often experience mild bloat when they are first introduced to alfalfa, but this condition can often be treated by simply keeping the animal walking until the gas dissipates. It is discouraging to discover that a newly purchased lot of alfalfa hay causes bloat, especially if it is the only forage available. In the first case, the producer backgrounded a couple of hundred five-cwt steers to 900 lbs. This will create bigger swings in nutrition and a greater risk for cattle to bloat. Dry matter intake, as a percent of body weight, can vary from 1.5 percent on straw to 2.75 percent on quality alfalfa hay. Management practices used to reduce the risk of bloat include feeding hay, particularly orchard grass, before turning cattle on pasture, maintaining grass dominance in the sward, or using strip grazing to restrict intake, with movement of animals to a new strip in the afternoon, not the early morning. Additionally, if your cow eats lawn trimmings, this can result in gas bloat because the shortcut fibers become packed inside the rumen and do not process properly. The main causes of bloat are an inherited tendency for bloat, certain proteins in forage (particularly in legumes), the coarseness of the roughage and the type of rumen microbial population. This may result in a false sense of security as cattle will seldom bloat while these alternative forages remain in the stand. Watch cattle carefully. Sudden access to grain can also lead to frothy bloat. Once alfalfa has reached 15% to 20% bloom the risk of grazing drops substantially. Some individual animals have a propensity to bloat, perhaps because of their physical characteristics. Bloat always must be a concern, but alfalfa that has been frosted and started to dry down has fewer tendencies to cause bloat than summer alfalfa. But they don’t need straight alfalfa because they don’t need that much protein, and rich alfalfa with no grass or other forage to dilute it can cause digestive problems, diarrhea and bloat. 3. Alfalfa has an initial rate of ruminal digestion that is five to ten times greater than that of most grasses. Never move cattle in the morning. However, as many a dairy farmer can attest to, cattle can still bloat on alfalfa hay, and long term frozen alfalfa should be considered bloat reduced, not bloat safe. “Anything that upsets photosynthesis in the actively growing plant (such as frost) can cause bloat. However, as these forages become depleted, the risk of bloat increases and such a scenario is often responsible for bloat outbreaks two to three days after animals have been moved to a new pasture. Bloat usually occurs an hour to one and a half hours after a major grazing bout. Anti-foaming agents can be sprayed onto suspected pasture before your cattle graze on it. Feedlot (dry) bloat usually refers to bloat in cattle fed high-grain rations that may or may not contain legume forage. To protect your livestock from bloat, fill them with hay before turning them onto alfalfa. Cattle can bloat from Red clover but with any legume cattle should be eased into it so they get accustomed to it.Blending some grass hay with red clover would make a lot more sense then mixing dry and wet red clover.Mixing grass in with red clover for pasture or hay is a good idea to help control bloat. As a rule, two weeks after a strong killing frost alfalfa is safe to graze. Increased management and the risk of bloat can be seen as the cost that is associated with the high levels of productivity and associated profitability that are possible with grazing alfalfa. Additionally, if your cow eats lawn trimmings, this can result in gas bloat because the shortcut fibers become packed inside the rumen and do not process properly. Grazing alfalfa can be toxic to cattle, sheep and other ruminant animals, as live alfalfa plants with moisture on the leaves will cause bloat (a build-up of gas) in all ruminant animals. Since bloat is not caused by any microbe, there is no vaccine for prevention. Cattle address their fiber needs by eating a little hay. In cattle, micro-organisms in their rumen, or paunch, produce gas as they digest forages. Although cows can eat alfalfa, it may cause bloat which is often detrimental to health, productivity as well profitability. If rotational grazing is used, care should be taken to ensure that the initial paddock is not over grazed to the point that animals are hungry when they are introduced into a fresh paddock. However, the utilization of alfalfa by grazing beef cattle has been limited due to its propensity to cause pasture bloat. Also, maintain access to dry hay or corn stalks while grazing alfalfa to help reduce bloat. Do not graze each paddock right to nothing before moving. Alfalfa is recognized as one of the most nutritious forages available and is widely used as conserved forage (ex, hay, silage) in the diets of beef and dairy cattle. Observe what they are eating and see if they are mixing their alfalfa with grass. The best way to avoid bloat is to reduce the factors that can cause it. Changing to a legume hay suddenly can make an animal sick, or cause a ruminant animal to bloat. Grazing alfalfa can be toxic to cattle, sheep and other ruminant animals, as live alfalfa plants with moisture on the leaves will cause bloat (a build-up of gas) in all ruminant animals. Feed bloat-preventing compounds. As myths go, the idea that alfalfa contributes to bloat in horses is inflated. Pasture bloat usually occurs in animals grazing wheat pasture, lush legumes (alfalfa, Ladino, red clover) or fed green-chopped legumes. 2 to 5 pm is better. Stress Causes Sheep Bloat, Too. If an outbreak of frothy bloat occurs all cattle on that pasture should be removed immediately and put onto a high fibre diet (hay or straw), and any cows showing bloating signs treated with an anti-foaming agent. Alfalfa hay Alfalfa hay combined with cereal grain is probably the most common mixture of dry feed causing bloat in western Canada. Only graze when fields are dry and firm. Winter wheat can also cause bloat when it is lush in the spring. Although many of these technologies can reduce the risk of bloat, none of them can guarantee bloat safe grazing of alfalfa under the management conditions. Changing from grass hay to alfalfa all at once can change the environment in the rumen of cattle, sheep and goats and in the cecum of a horse (because of the shift in pH—the acid/base balance). Death is common with severe bloat cases. Older cattle eat more per unit body weight than younger cattle. Other strategies of bloat prevention such as wilting of alfalfa also lower soluble protein levels in the alfalfa and reduce bloat risk. This can take up to 90 days with some alfalfa. However, as many a dairy farmer can attest to, cattle can still bloat on alfalfa hay, and long term frozen alfalfa should be considered bloat reduced, not bloat safe. The key is in storing the hay until the enzyme action is done with the curing process. It likely stems from the fact that alfalfa can cause bloat in cattle due to the layout of their intestinal tract. Outbreaks of bloat are often associated with particular batches of hay. The Animal Grazing management 2.2.2.1. In primary ruminal tympany, or frothy bloat, the cause is entrapment of the normal gases of fermentation in a stable foam. But they don’t need straight alfalfa because they don’t need that much protein, and rich alfalfa with no grass or other forage to dilute it can cause digestive problems, diarrhea and bloat. Alfalfa, red clover, and white clover are the most notorious legumes for bloat. Also, although cows can feed on alfalfa, excess feed can be detrimental to health. The bloat hazard of alfalfa generally increases with lush, vegetative growth, during cool weather (spring or fall frosts), rain, with high soil fertility, but can occur any time during the summer. However, there is often a lag of 24 to 48 hours before bloating occurs in cattle Conditions that may lead to frothy bloat include consumpiton of lush legumes such as clover or alfalfa, either in green feeds or as new hay; recent turnout to legume pastures, and wet grass pastures. There are, however, some risks producers need to be aware of and precautions that need to be followed when grazing alfalfa and alfalfa/grass hay stands, Sedivec said. Pasture (frothy) bloat can occur in animals grazing wheat pasture or lush legumes (alfalfa, ladino, white clover) or being fed green-chopped legumes. 2.2.2. I've never heard of acidosis from alfalfa hay, but it can cause bloat, which can also kill deer. Another tactic is to let the forage become more mature so it is not so lush, and graze it during the frost-free period. 2. Alfalfa varieties that have a slower digestion rate are being developed to lower the bloating risk in cattle, however early research into these varieties has shown mixed results in their ability to reduce rates of bloating iii. Consequently, many experienced producers do not allow their cattle to graze alfalfa until it is in full bloom. Feedlot (dry) bloat usually refers to bloat in cattle fed high-grain rations that may or may not contain legume forage. Rather overconsumption of green legumes can produce gas in the rumen that can swell it to the point of potentially fatal consequences. Consequently, familiarity with the grazing patterns of the cattle can enable producers to adjust their management practices to observe the animals during times of greatest bloat risk. Bloat can occur on any lush forage that is low in fiber and highly digestible, but is most common on immature legume (clover and alfalfa) pastures. Monitor grazing of the cattle. Provide hay before pasture turnout. Continuous grazing can present more danger as after two to three weeks of grazing within a pasture alfalfa starts to regrow. Bloat has been observed on alfalfa, white clover, and red clover pastures but is rare on trefoil sainfoin and vetch pastures. Soluble leaf proteins, saponins, and hemicelluloses are believed to be the primary foaming agents and to for… Cattle generally have three to four grazing bouts per day on alfalfa pastures. If water source is controlled it works well. Preventing bloat is desirable not only to reduce deaths but also to reduce the negative effect of bloat on cattle per-formance. This can be an expensive supplement, but it works well when animals eat a uniform amount each day. Proper management of the animal is just as pivotal to bloat prevention as management of the plant. As a means to control the risk of bloat, some farmers practise co-cropping bloat safe legumes and wilt alfalfa prior to consumption. Although there are few experiments to prove the concept, most experienced producers would agree that cattle must learn to graze alfalfa. Ruminants are unique in their ability to readily digest the cell wall components of forages and it is this ability that gives them a competitive advantage over other meat producing animals. Pasture (frothy) bloat can occur in animals grazing wheat pasture or lush legumes (alfalfa, ladino, white clover) or being fed green-chopped legumes. Changing from grass hay to alfalfa all at once can change the environment in the rumen of cattle, sheep and goats and in the cecum of a horse (because of the shift in pH—the acid/base balance). The best way to avoid bloat is to reduce the factors that can cause it. Alfalfa is recognized as one of the most nutritious forages available and is widely used as conserved forage (ex, hay, silage) in the diets of beef and dairy cattle. Bloat is caused by fermentation gases being trapped under a foamy mat in the rumen, and it is often associated with livestock grazing alfalfa, clover or wheat pastures. Knowledge of the interactions between the animal, plant and environment factors that lead to bloat is the key to profitable grazing alfalfa with minimal death loss. The pasture should not be grazed for at least ten days. It is likely that the risk of bloat in frozen alfalfa decreases with time as proteins complex with carbohydrate in a manner similar to that achieved with wilting or drying. Add legumes that don't cause bloat or are less likely to cause bloat to pastures. However, I know of two extreme cases of grain bloat where cattle in Saskatchewan were fed high-grain diets in self-feeders and a few bloated animals died. 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