Is bloat around the corner? Pasture to Profit consultant, Piers Badnell, tells you how to keep on the look out.
The last few years generally have not been bloat years. However, around the country we have seen more farms with more clover this year. This may mean as autumn comes in with the temperature dropping, moisture increasing (be that dew or rain) in paddocks with high clover levels, may be prone to the risk of bloat.
If so and you haven’t come across bloat for a few years, what can you do or look out for?
- Risk – high clover content, hungry animals, wet morning, very lush powerful grass clover sward.
- Avoid switching between clover and grass swards – avoid big changes, blend if you can.
- Use anti bloat solutions in drinking water, make sure it is in the cows the day before going into a potentially risky paddock.
- Check cows regularly, especially the first 3-4 hours in a risky paddock.
- Small allocations first to prevent cows stuffing themselves and then after 2 hours or so drop the wire for the rest of the allocation.
- Some people say pre mowing helps, mow an allocation, and let it wilt for a few hours before feeding.
- Know what to do if you have bloat – ask your vet, have them on speed dial and have a plan.
Clover is great for cows and lower bagged nitrogen scenarios, but don’t get caught out with the one potential downside.