Reducing Frothy Bloat in Stocker Calves
Cattlemen every year lose millions of dollars to death loss and depressed production when grazing cool-season small grains, to a condition that is all too familiar: Frothy Bloat, or Primary Ruminal Tympany.
In rumination, large volumes of gasses are produced through microbial fermentation of cellulose. Normally, the gasses are eliminated by the animal’s belching or eructation.
Frothy bloat occurs when cattle consume highly soluble wheat pasture forage or lush pasture while certain conditions of weather and fertilizer type and rate are converging:
- Nitrogen concentration in the forage is rapidly increasing.
- Cattle on high-nitrogen forage suffer a nitrogen spike in the rumen, dropping pH to acid levels.
- The acidifying rumen medium gives rapid increase to the population of proteolytic rumen bacteria.
Acid-loving proteolytic bacteria are destructive. They produce Acetic and Butyric Acid (VFAs) that rapidly kick off gasses in the rumen . . . while at the same time producing a proteinaceous polysaccharide foam or slime, very stable and ridged. Gasses become trapped in the ridged slime so that animals are prevented from belching, creating the typical distended rumen. Suffocation results.
Notice: Carbon (energy) is being lost as gasses CO2 (carbon dioxide), CH4 (methane), and CH2 (formaldehyde) form. Proteolytic bacteria rob energy (carbon) by suppressing production of Propionic Acid, the desirable Volatile Fatty Acid that utilizes all carbon energy ― while not producing the rumen gasses. Economic losses occur from decreased rate of gain, increased labor cost, and death loss.
Prevention of Frothy Bloat by TRM’s Stocker Wheat Pasture Mineral
1. Research has shown that animals susceptible to bloat secrete less saliva due to the soluble nature of the forage, individual animal characteristics, and mineral imbalances. TRM’s “Stocker Wheat DV” Mineral™ is formulated to stimulate salivation. Saliva has anti-foaming and rumen-buffering abilities.
2. Extra available sodium ions and elemental sulfur will offset extremely high potassium levels found in wheat pasture forage. High potassium levels contribute to the rigidity and stability of the foam that traps the gasses.
3. Extra available sodium ions work as a surfactant to reduce the surface tension of water in the rumen, much like sodium ions from sodium chloride (salt) work in a home water-softener system.
4. Potent natural rumen buffers steady the pH level of the rumen at neutral instead of acidic. Rumen bacteria that produce the gas-trapping foam and slime flourish in an acid environment.
5. Diamond V Yeast® is added at a high inclusion rate to increase microbial activity of the rumen, increasing efficiency and enhancing production of the Volatile Fatty Acid, Propionic Acid. Production of Propionic Acid, the most carbon energy efficient VFA, produces no gaseous byproducts.