Bloat Warning (increased cases across Irish Farms)
June 29, 2020
Are you experiencing Bloat on your Farm?
Our phones have not stopped ringing since last week, and there was a common trend. Our farming clients have been experiencing bloat in their herds.
Grass Tetany is caused by a magnesium (Mg) deficiency, which can occur when animals are grazing heavy, lush, low-fibre paddocks. Cows are most at risk in paddocks which have received heavy dressings of nitrogen (N). The disease can affect both suckler and dairy cows and farmers must take extra care in paddocks with high levels of potassium (K) and N.
Bloat is becoming increasingly popular and of great concern for Irish Farmers as grass growth rates pick up again after the fine weather we experienced recently.
Bloat is found in the Rumen. The Rumen of a cow is a magnificent organ. This large fermentation bath is what drives production.
We must remember the key to successful ruminant farming systems is good rumen health. It is the billions of bugs in this large stomach that drive production and performance.
When rumen health becomes unbalanced, we can also slow down this efficiency and even have severe disruptions like bloat.
Bloat is where the excess gas (methane and CO2) produced in the rumen can affect normal function. It can occur quite rapidly, meaning that death can also ensue quickly. It causes massive pressure on the lungs and hearts of affected cows.
There are two types of Bloat commonly found:
- Primary, which is where excess gas is produced in the rumen. Primary bloat is by far the most common type of bloat. We typically see this at the moment in the form of Frothy bloat at pasture.
- With secondary bloat, we see where something obstructs the expulsion of gas in a healthy functioning rumen. These cases will respond well when spotted to relieving the gas by stomach tubing. They may swell up quickly again, meaning that the cause of the obstruction is still there. These cases will often need a permanent trocar or fistula if bloating continues.
What is Frothy Bloat ?
Frothy bloat is where the microbes in the rumen produce extra gas. This creates a foam in the gas layer, which is not easily eructated (belched). These animals will start to swell up quickly, often on the left-hand side (where the rumen sits). They can often go down and bloat up quite quickly.
Farmers will have little time with these cases, and they are a veterinary emergency.
These are emergencies and require urgent attention. Regular tubing may not expel this foam very well. These cases often require trocars or ruminal fistulas placed by your vet.
Time is against affected cows here, so we need something to reduce the formation of this foam. We can use detergents or anti-foaming agents. When spotted first, they should be walked back to the yard slowly.
Walking can take the pressure off for a short period until treatment is administered. Animals down may need emergency intervention rapidly to relieve the gas.
Oral treatments with oils or detergents will have success along with methods to relieve the gas.
Terra NutriTECH’s ‘Bloat Oil‘ can be used to treat these cases, but most importantly, it can be used to prevent it at the herd level. This bloat oil can be dosed through the water manually or automatically through the Terra NutriTech controller – during risk periods.
Grass Growth and Bloat
With the recent heavy rain throughout Ireland, we will see grass swards begin to grow intensely. This rain is welcome and the grass growth that comes with it. It does, as seen by our clients, increase the risk of bloat in their herd.
Lush regrowths can be low in fibre and high in soluble protein that may increase the risk. Clovers, in particular, create extra risk. Also, grass can be high in sugars and water content, all meaning these bugs are working harder and producing a lot of gas.
This may also mean less saliva production which can act as a buffer in the rumen,
These soluble proteins can rise to the top of the rumen, becoming insoluble and causing this foam to develop.
Possibly any recent fertilizer application could have increased the NPN (non-protein nitrogen) in the rumen leading to more gas and insoluble proteins being formed.
So, it is time to be vigilant, and great care should be taken when putting stock into new lush pastures with clover. The use of strip wires to slowly introduce them might be the wise choice during the coming weeks.
Where you know you’re facing into these types of swards, our Bloat Oil is a great option to reduce the risks if you get a suspect case of bloat recheck grazing strategies and mitigate the risks.
- Aids in the prevention of bloat in stock, who feed on lush grass or high clover content
- Helps with herd health and milk yield
- Blend of ethoxylated Castor Oil
Sizes & Dosing Rate
- Available in 20kg and 200kg
- Dosing ratio 40mls per head per day
Talk with our Team
We look forward to hearing from you – Get In Touch
Please call Ronan on 087 7086714 to find out about using an automated mineral dosing system. Ronan recently caught up with AgriLand and discusses Bloat treatment in this article. There are many health benefits for your cattle. Join other farmers that are planning for the year ahead.
You can also send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your query and we’ll happily get back to you shortly to discuss it with you.