Recent rains have improved winter-wheat grazing and brought flushes of clover in other pastures, resulting in many reports of cattle bloat in parts of Texas.
Texas Agrilife Extension agents in several counties say producers have shifted from worrying about not enough forage to worrying about too much and resulting bloat issues.
“Calving season is in full swing,” says Missy Hodgin in Clay County, east of Wichita Falls. “Cows are in decent condition. Bloat is a big concern, especially with cows and calves on wheat pasture. Some producers are reporting death loss to bloat as high as 10%.”
Overconsumption of clover is a “great concern” in Tom Green County and weeds are becoming a problem, too, says Steve Sturtz at San Angelo. “Yearling cattle are doing very well on small grains, and cows are regaining body condition where winter grasses are available,” he says.
“Overall pasture conditions continue to improve as soil moisture increases, and livestock condition has seen dramatic improvement in recent months,” reports Michael Haynes in Caldwell County, south of Austin. “However, due to substantial forage loss from drought and overgrazing in the previous year, many pastures are seeing excessive clover growth, leading to producers having to purchase bloat preventatives. Some producers have been experiencing livestock loss due to bloat and tetany.”