By Jessica Crabtree and Dr. Jered Harlan
Pastures of green wheat across the countryside are full of grazing cattle. Most days they appear happy and healthy. Other times cattle will suffer from a multitude of problems associated with being turned out on wheat. One that is easily detected and requires immediate attention is bloat. To be more accurate, bloat may be either free-gas bloat or frothy bloat. Bloat typically shows its evil head when temperatures warm and moisture levels increase and growth of lush grasses or legumes increase drastically.
Bloat is initiated by a rapid release of plant cell contents that are quickly broken down and fermented in the cattle’s rumen. The accumulation of gasses in the first two compartments of the ruminant’s stomach, the rumen and reticulum, is a direct result of the fermentation process. That gas is normally released by belching (eructation in technical terms). To read more pick up the March 2016 issue of NTFR.