Lush Pastures Tempt Cows to Overeat

Ranchers say bloat in cattle has become a concern

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    NEWSLETTERS

    After recent rains cattle are grazing in lush pastures full of green grass, but some cows are eating themselves to death. (Published Thursday, Mar 22, 2012)

    There is plenty of green grass across North Texas after the recent rainfalls, but lush pastures can be a problem for cattle.

    Some ranchers have reported their cows dying after eating too much, and agricultural experts say bloat in cattle is a statewide concern.

    Cows Dying From Eating Too Much

    [DFW] Cows Dying From Eating Too Much
    After recent rains cattle are grazing in lush pastures full of green grass, but some cows are eating themselves to death. (Published Thursday, Mar 22, 2012)

    Denton County rancher Jerry Bagley said recent rain has created a plentiful winter wheat supply -- and with that, comes plenty of weeds.

    "We've got things growing everywhere, and the cattle are eating all this clover," he said.

    Eddie Baggs, Denton County agricultural extension agent, said cows eating too much clover or other lush vegetation is not good.

    "We could get into some bloat problems with the cattle," he said. "It can be fatal. They can die within minutes in extreme cases. You don't have time to get a veterinarian out there."

    Bagley said he is keeping a close eye on his cattle and using a mineral supplement to help prevent bloating.

    "Some of the neighbors have had some problems, so we are aware of it," he said.

    Agricultural experts said there are additional ways to keep a herd healthy.

    "Don't ever turn hungry cattle into a lush pasture," Baggs said. "Let them fill up on dry forages. Some hay is great."

    But ranchers are still grateful for the rain.

    "I'd much rather it be too wet than too dry," Bagley said. "We will make this work."