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Grazing management to prevent bloat

Bloat can be an issue in swards with high white clover content. Bloat can occur at any time of the year but it is more likely to occur in the second half of the year when white clover content in the sward is highest. Good grassland management can minimise and prevent the risk of bloat.

Bloat prevention

  • Avoid switching between grass-only and grass-white clover swards, as much as is possible
  • Avoid having cows hungry entering a fresh paddock. Keep post-grazing sward height at or just above 4 cm, not below. This will ensure that cows are fed to appetite and will be consuming a mixture of grass and clover. They will not be hungry when they move to a fresh paddock/break and therefore will not have a large intake of clover in a short period of time.
  • When entering a grass-white clover paddock in risky conditions - high white clover content / hungry animals / wet morning / very lush pasture) provide a small area in the paddock for the first 2-3 hours after turn-out to prevent the initial gorging on white clover.
  • Provide anti-bloating agent in the water supply – starting the day prior to entering the risky paddock.
  • Check cows after initial turnout and regularly for first three hours of grazing during high risk periods