grazing on alfalfa

Help Support CattleToday:

OP
A

Anonymous

Cattle can BLOAT on Alfalfa and other such feed, especially when damp from dew and jucy and succulent.

That said, I have seen about 20 young steers grazed on a 40 acre patch that had been cut for it's last seasonal cutting and then had a few inch dusting of snow.

They were digging through (nosing through?) the snow and eating what was available. Some supplemental baled alfalfa was spread and fed in the field on a regular basis. They did well through the winter and the field suffered little or no damage as they were removed prior to the Spring thaw.

Dunmovin can prolly give you a better answer, as he's had greater experience.

Eaglewerks

> is it ok to let cow calf (beef)
> graze on alfalfa field ? thanks
> Mark.

[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

I personally think the bloat issue is over emphasised, yes they can bloat but it doesn't seem to be as wide spread as one would think. Problem is, twenty head can graze and 19 of them will do fine and never have a problem, but the other one will bloat and maybe die. That pretty much means the other 19 are just going to pay for the one and if your lucky you'll breakeven. There are strains of alfalfa that have ben devloped for grazing they don;t seem to be as much a culprit as those that are strictly hay types. If I were planning on grazing alfalfa, I would first only run them in for a couple of hours inthe morning, pull them off, then run them in for a couple more hours in the late afternoon, then pull them off for the night. I would also provide a "Bloatgaurd" block starting before I started running them in. After a week or so, I would still leave the block available but would allow them to graze full time. If it has been hayed, and you are only grazing the stubble it may not be as serious a deal. But, (there are always buts in a deal llike this), when we were in the desert and our partner raised alfalfa, I suggested letting the calves winter on the stubble. He used to lease the grazing to the Basque sheperds to winter their sheep. His reasoning for running sheep verses cattle had to do with the crown damage to the alfalfa caused by the bigger foot and heavier weight. Also, the Basques rotated the sheep through so the alfalfa was never grazed low enough to damage the crown. Running calves you would have to really keep an eye on them to prevent them damaging the alfalfa crown. Of course, he had thousands of acres of the stuff, if you are only dealing with a 100 acres or so and used very low stocking rates it might not be a problem. Just my take on the situation.

dunmovin farms

> Cattle can BLOAT on Alfalfa and
> other such feed, especially when
> damp from dew and jucy and
> succulent.

> That said, I have seen about 20
> young steers grazed on a 40 acre
> patch that had been cut for it's
> last seasonal cutting and then had
> a few inch dusting of snow.

> They were digging through (nosing
> through?) the snow and eating what
> was available. Some supplemental
> baled alfalfa was spread and fed
> in the field on a regular basis.
> They did well through the winter
> and the field suffered little or
> no damage as they were removed
> prior to the Spring thaw.

> Dunmovin can prolly give you a
> better answer, as he's had greater
> experience.

> Eaglewerks
 
OP
A

Anonymous

My husband & I used to manage a 200 head cow/calf operation. They had lots of alfalfa throughout their rotational grazing fields. All the "men" were gone on a trip & I needed to change fields. I waited til noon (in September) to switch them to the new field which was mostly grasses but had a long thin strip of straight alfalfa. I went to lunch then decided to take some good cow/calf pictures. I had one dead, two down, & the majority of the rest bloated. I rounded up some construction crew, put all cattle in a holding pen, fed dry hay, tubed the worse ones (fortunately it worked!). Only lost the one that time, but another September day we lost a yearling. So, yes you can graze it, but be aware of the potential problem. Jeanne <A HREF="http://www.SimmeValley.com" TARGET="_blank">http://www.SimmeValley.com</A>
> I personally think the bloat issue
> is over emphasised, yes they can
> bloat but it doesn't seem to be as
> wide spread as one would think.
> Problem is, twenty head can graze
> and 19 of them will do fine and
> never have a problem, but the
> other one will bloat and maybe
> die. That pretty much means the
> other 19 are just going to pay for
> the one and if your lucky you'll
> breakeven. There are strains of
> alfalfa that have ben devloped for
> grazing they don;t seem to be as
> much a culprit as those that are
> strictly hay types. If I were
> planning on grazing alfalfa, I
> would first only run them in for a
> couple of hours inthe morning,
> pull them off, then run them in
> for a couple more hours in the
> late afternoon, then pull them off
> for the night. I would also
> provide a "Bloatgaurd"
> block starting before I started
> running them in. After a week or
> so, I would still leave the block
> available but would allow them to
> graze full time. If it has been
> hayed, and you are only grazing
> the stubble it may not be as
> serious a deal. But, (there are
> always buts in a deal llike this),
> when we were in the desert and our
> partner raised alfalfa, I
> suggested letting the calves
> winter on the stubble. He used to
> lease the grazing to the Basque
> sheperds to winter their sheep.
> His reasoning for running sheep
> verses cattle had to do with the
> crown damage to the alfalfa caused
> by the bigger foot and heavier
> weight. Also, the Basques rotated
> the sheep through so the alfalfa
> was never grazed low enough to
> damage the crown. Running calves
> you would have to really keep an
> eye on them to prevent them
> damaging the alfalfa crown. Of
> course, he had thousands of acres
> of the stuff, if you are only
> dealing with a 100 acres or so and
> used very low stocking rates it
> might not be a problem. Just my
> take on the situation.

> dunmovin farms

[email protected]
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Yes, you can graze alfalfa, and yes, there is a chance of bloating. We have put cows/calves/bulls in on alfalfa pasture with the alfalfa about 12" to 15" high for several years, and haven't had any problems. This is a pasture that is a grass/alfalfa mix, heavy on the alfalfa, and it's difficult to get equipment into this pasture to hay it.

We put the cows on bloat blocks about a week ahead of time. The literature says they have to be on the bloat block for at least 2 days before they have some protection. I get nervous every time we do this, so I try and err on the long side.

We fill them up on hay, then turn them out.

There can be problems grazing alfalfa that has been frost nipped or frozen. Some of the university ag web sites have information on this. There are some links you can try on my web site links page. <A HREF="http://www.murraygrey.com" TARGET="_blank">http://www.murraygrey.com</A>

We don't ease the cows into this pasture only because it is not near the house and there is no holding area.

I do notice our cows put their heads down and graze the grass growing between the alfalfa plants first. They seem to prefer the grass, thank goodness.

One note - the cows must be on the bloat blocks continuously to have protection. Remove any other source of salt, so they use the bloat blocks daily. They must have the medication in the bloat block on a daily basis or you have no protection. I just make sure there are bloat blocks out all summer and watch closely to see they don't run out of the blocks at any time. I could probably take them off the blocks at some point, but I'm chicken.

> Cattle can BLOAT on Alfalfa and
> other such feed, especially when
> damp from dew and jucy and
> succulent.

> That said, I have seen about 20
> young steers grazed on a 40 acre
> patch that had been cut for it's
> last seasonal cutting and then had
> a few inch dusting of snow.

> They were digging through (nosing
> through?) the snow and eating what
> was available. Some supplemental
> baled alfalfa was spread and fed
> in the field on a regular basis.
> They did well through the winter
> and the field suffered little or
> no damage as they were removed
> prior to the Spring thaw.

> Dunmovin can prolly give you a
> better answer, as he's had greater
> experience.

> Eaglewerks
 
OP
A

Anonymous

>t My husband & I used to manage
> a 200 head cow/calf operation.
> They had lots of alfalfa
> throughout their rotational
> grazing fields. All the
> "men" were gone on a
> trip & I needed to change
> fields. I waited til noon (in
> September) to switch them to the
> new field which was mostly grasses
> but had a long thin strip of
> straight alfalfa. I went to lunch
> then decided to take some good
> cow/calf pictures. I had one dead,
> two down, & the majority of
> the rest bloated. I rounded up
> some construction crew, put all
> cattle in a holding pen, fed dry
> hay, tubed the worse ones
> (fortunately it worked!). Only
> lost the one that time, but
> another September day we lost a
> yearling. So, yes you can graze
> it, but be aware of the potential
> problem. Jeanne
> <A HREF="http://www.SimmeValley.com" TARGET="_blank">http://www.SimmeValley.com</A> the alfafa is about a foot tall,i don't know what strain it is , but i do know it was planted by a dairy farmer who cut it and fed it wet.do you think i should brush hog it first before i put the cows in ? i don't have a bailer , thank you for all thr responces. mark
 

Latest posts

Top