Botulism in haylage/silage

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Botulism in haylage/silage

Post by Bright Raven » Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:35 pm

Those Clostridial bacteria are a group of nasty buggers. My dad died as a result of a combination of age and Clostridium difficile. Then there are the Blackleg group and Clostridium tetani. But don't forget Clostridium botulinum. The Clostridials are Gram-positive, rod-shaped, anaerobic, spore-forming, bacteria.

There is an article in Cow Country about botulism in silage and haylage. If the pH remains too high and you don't get good fermentation, the botulinum bacteria can become very active in the anaerobic environment of silage and haylage. The bacteria product a neurotoxin that is one of the most lethal poisons on the planet. One roll of haylage could take down several head.

Has anyone experienced this? And does anyone test the pH of their haylage?


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Re: Botulism in haylage/silage

Post by Silver » Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:44 pm

Never experienced it. Touch wood. And we have wrapped feed from wringing wet to dry enough it may have kept. I think if you do a good job of wrapping the odds go in your favour. As in enough layers of wrap and keeping the bales tights end to end.

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Re: Botulism in haylage/silage

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:18 pm

Silver wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:44 pm
Never experienced it. Touch wood. And we have wrapped feed from wringing wet to dry enough it may have kept. I think if you do a good job of wrapping the odds go in your favour. As in enough layers of wrap and keeping the bales tights end to end.
totally agree - (knock on wood also!!).
I read once that more cows are killed from botulism from FROGS getting baled. :shock:
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Re: Botulism in haylage/silage

Post by Bright Raven » Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:21 pm

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:18 pm
Silver wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:44 pm
Never experienced it. Touch wood. And we have wrapped feed from wringing wet to dry enough it may have kept. I think if you do a good job of wrapping the odds go in your favour. As in enough layers of wrap and keeping the bales tights end to end.
totally agree - (knock on wood also!!).
I read once that more cows are killed from botulism from FROGS getting baled. :shock:
Say what?
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Re: Botulism in haylage/silage

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:37 pm

Yup. Supposed to be a common "carcass" in baleage. I would think - woodchuck, mice, fawns - nope they said FROGS. Now, I read this a number of years ago - and maybe it was talking about New York (or NE) where we have a lot of wet hay fields.
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Re: Botulism in haylage/silage

Post by Bigfoot » Sun Jan 05, 2020 6:14 pm

Bright Raven wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:21 pm
Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:18 pm
Silver wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:44 pm
Never experienced it. Touch wood. And we have wrapped feed from wringing wet to dry enough it may have kept. I think if you do a good job of wrapping the odds go in your favour. As in enough layers of wrap and keeping the bales tights end to end.
totally agree - (knock on wood also!!).
I read once that more cows are killed from botulism from FROGS getting baled. :shock:
Say what?
I would have guessed snakes.
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Re: Botulism in haylage/silage

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:23 pm

Yup, I forgot snakes - that would have been up there near top in my mind also!
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Re: Botulism in haylage/silage

Post by Bright Raven » Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:27 pm

I buy my hay. I have seen a coyote in the hay. I have seen snakes and baby rabbits. Never seen a frog.
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Re: Botulism in haylage/silage

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:47 pm

I have never seen any creature in my hay. I count my blessings!!!
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Re: Botulism in haylage/silage

Post by Lucky_P » Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:13 pm

Saw several herd 'outbreaks' over the years, all associated with baleage... most recently, a problem mainly with small grain(wheat, rye, triticale) baleage... large enough numbers of animals, and over a period of several weeks... they weren't a deal of one bale with a dead animal in it.
A high quality product like wheat or alfalfa baleage, with high crude protein level will certainly support botulinum toxin production, if fermentation does not get pH down to a safe level.

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Re: Botulism in haylage/silage

Post by wbvs58 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:03 am

I lost one several years ago to what I suspected as botulism from Chicken litter. I had it fenced off with step in posts and hot wire but I think some calves knocked it over, the cow that died was one I saw inside the fence. my intention was to spread it out the following day after I had moved the cows on but she was dead in the morning. I lost two last winter in my scrub block that I suspect from botulism, very bad drought conditions where cows low in phosphorous chew bones. Perfectly normal one day coming up for feed, missing the next, bodies found a couple of months later, no sign of any struggle. We have a one shot vaccine "Longrange" for it which I gave them after the problem, I'll give them another annual shot this autumn before they go back in there.

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Re: Botulism in haylage/silage

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:54 am

The only product I know named LongRange is a dewormer here in USA.
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Re: Botulism in haylage/silage

Post by wbvs58 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:30 pm

Jeanne, over here it is a botulism vaccine made by Zoetis.

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Re: Botulism in haylage/silage

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:59 pm

I've never heard of a vaccine for botulism. Not saying there isn't one here, just never heard of one.
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Re: Botulism in haylage/silage

Post by Bigfoot » Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:47 pm

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:59 pm
I've never heard of a vaccine for botulism. Not saying there isn't one here, just never heard of one.
For horses, it’s expensive and requires a few rounds.
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