30 August 1996

Bloat risk higher after supplement

DAIRY cows fed high quality supplements when grazing clover-based grass swards are at increased risk of suffering bloat.

Evidence comes from a trial, as reported in the Veterinary Record Aug 17, 1996, which examines the effect of offering forage supplements to cows grazing high clover content swards.

Cows were offered different supplements with high and low protein and high and low energy contents.

Bloat incidence fell when cows were given the low protein and low energy feeds compared with grazing alone.

But bloat incidence in the high energy/high protein group was greater than in the control.

The report suggests that offering cows forage that is slowly digested will reduce the risk of bloat.

although cattle will adapt to a high clover diet within a few weeks. Cows fed silage also appeared to reduce the risk of bloat.