Avoid Problems If Grazing Wheat Pasture

Bloat, tetany are concerns with lush wheat pasture.

Two potential problems when grazing wheat pasture are bloat and grass tetany, says K-State Research and Extension forage management agronomist John Fritz.

The following excerpt from the K-State Research and Extension publication "Wheat Pasture in Kansas" (C-173 revised) covers potential animal health problems with wheat grazing. See: www.oznet.ksu.edu/library/crpsl2/samplers/C713.asp

"High crude protein and low fiber contents in wheat pasture are associated with bloat. Cool, moist conditions also favor bloating. To aid in preventing bloat, do not put hungry cattle on lush pasture. When grazing begins, carefully monitor to identify animals more susceptible to bloat, so they can be removed before chance of loss. Observing the cattle often to detect bloat can prevent loss. Bloat potential is greatest during the 3- to 4-week periods of lush growth in the fall and early spring. Feeding Bloat-Guard (poloxalene) as a dry or liquid energy supplement, molasses block, or mineral supplement is the most effective procedure to prevent bloat. Feeding high-quality grass hay, silage or grain with Rumensin or Bovatec will minimize bloat potential.

"Tetany is characterized by a low blood magnesium level in livestock. It occurs more often in older cows nursing young calves, but may affect stockers as well. Tetany frequently occurs during rapid spring growth following cool temperatures (45 to 60 degrees F), but may occur in fall. The easiest prevention is to provide 6 to 8 percent magnesium in a palatable, free-choice mineral supplement."

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