22 August 1997

Bloat risk with lots of clover

HOT, humid weather has encouraged clover growth, leading to an increase in bloat.

So warns SAC beef specialist Basil Lowman. "Many swards are of good quality – and with a high clover content. That has led to several bloat cases recently."

Although few cases have been seen further south, vet consultant Tony Andrews suggests that bloat is more likely in predominantly beef areas such as Scotland.

"Beef cattle and suckler cows not receiving supplementary feed are at most risk."

Tactics such as feeding long fibre – untreated straw, for example – may not be effective, he warns. "Cattle prefer grass to straw. However, it may be possible to strip graze areas with a high clover content to reduce risks. The most effective prevention is to use paloxone – Bloat Guard."

Dr Lowman adds that producers with more than 50% clover in their swards should be using Bloat Guard fed with a palatable supplement.