It is bloat season again....

A large number of farms have experienced deaths from bloat in the last week.  This has coincided with the introduction of high protein, low fibre second round pasture which generally has an increased clover content.

Risk factors for bloat:

  • Swards where clover content is greater than 30%.
  • Dew on grass at morning shift.
  • Short swards.
  • Warm windy conditions especially in the evenings.
  • Young cows.
  • Potassium to sodium ratios in pasture greater than 20 (this can easily be tested for at Feed Labs - known as the bloat index).

Factors which will reduce bloat risk include:

  • Feeding longer length pasture.
  • Feeding long chopped silage, hay or straw before introduction to a new paddock or break.
  • Preferentially grazing older cattle (older herd) on at risk pastures - older cows have adpated grazing behaviour i.e. they do not gorge themselves.
  • Feeding salt at 30gm per cow per day.

Rumensin bloat capsules should be considered in situations where dosatron type systems are not available or peta trough dispensers are not practical.  Alternatively if a dostron is available use Rumensin TT or Bloatenz Plus.  Rumensin products have been shown to reduce the risk of bloat by 80%, plus they give the added benefit of extra milk production.