Common Diseases of Grazing Beef Cattle

This article comes to us from Dr. John Comerford, Penn State Extension Beef Specialist. Thanks! 1. Bloat The incidence of bloat in cattle grazing legumes is well documented. Bloat is caused by the rapid fermentation of legume plants that produce high levels of gas as a by-product of the fermentation. This excess gas cannot be eliminated fast enough, and the animal can die from the excess pressure on the internal organs. Its effect on reproductive efficiency is indirectly related to abortions or infertility resulting from affected animals. The report by Majak et al. (1995) provides a summary of the pasture management strategies to reduce bloat: Every cultivar of alfalfa tested caused bloat. Sainfoin, cicer milkvetch, and birdsfoot trefoil are legumes that did not cause bloat. Advanced stages of maturity of the alfalfa plant will reduce the probability of bloat. Cattle susceptible to bloat will have a slower passage rate in the rumen (allowing more time for gas production) and these cattle would also consume 18-25% less forage before bloating than non-bloaters. Mineral supplementation did not reduce the incidence of bloat. The only additive tested that would reduce bloat was poloxalene. Seasonal weather conditions, including a killing frost, did not influence the incidence of bloat. Waiting until the dew was off alfa

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3 thoughts on “Common Diseases of Grazing Beef Cattle

  1. This is a really concise article for us newbies.
    I would love to ‘pin’ it – could you add that ability to your site?

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