By Steve Freeman / June 13, 2016 / 4 Comments
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I believe genetics are key with bloat issues. Used to have a ton of issues with our large framed mainstream angus cows but have no issues with our red angus “grazing genetics” now. Also feed natural sodium bicarbonate as part of our mineral program.
Does anyone have experience with yellow alfalfa (also called falcata alfalfa)? Supposedly there is a lot lower risk of bloat with it, but there is not any around our area. We are thinking of trying to introduce it, and would like to learn more about it.
In his book ‘Hands on Agronomy pg 176’ Neil Kinsey relates an accouynt where it was found that the farms with good soil phosphate levels loved a new clover while the farms with deficient levels of soil phosphates were more prone to bloat. on a similar note, I now am able to graze high percentage legume pastures at a similar stage of maturity that used to that used to make for killing fields when I was transitioning farmland to perrenial pasture.
Grazing mixes of sainfoin (the new variety called Mountainview developed in Alberta by Dr. Surya Acharya and team is probably best) or cicer milkvetch is becoming more and more popular. The sainfoin needs to be perhaps 30% of the stand and then its tannins prevent the cows from getting bloat. There is all sorts of information available about this on the Internet. Dr. Acharya has rather specific instructions about planting alfalfa and sainfoin. Your could also look up Graeme Finn of Union Forage and find a wealth of information.
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