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Grazing alfalfa

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coyote doctor

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Hi everyone. I'm new to the site and have a question. How safe is grazing an alfalfa/grass mix in the spring? The alfalfa is 9 inches tall with some of last years dead stems sticking up. The grass is crested wheatgrass and is about 5-6 inches tall. The alfalfa is not very thick but you can step on a plant in any direction. We just turned in a bunch of yearlings and I'm concerned about bloat. They just came out of an all crested wheatgrass pasture they had been on for about 10 days and were pretty full when they went into the alfalfa/grass pasture late this afternoon. I watched them graze for nearly an hour and they browsed the alfalfa but mainly went after the grass. Thanks.
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Silver

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I wouldn't worry about it for a minute on this place, looks like any of our tame pasture. If you're worried you could keep some dry hay set out for them, they'll eat it if they need it.
 

littlejoe

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Put them on full.
They were on green feed.
Late in the day.
Dry hay free choice.

ALL the above is good.

Bloatguard breaks big bubbles into little ones.

Laundry soap mixed with salt will do the same.

1/2 cup to 50# is recommended--so I use a full cup. If a little is good,......

Any bloat prevention product has to be in their system before they hit the possible bloat source.

I use powdered soap w/o bleach---mix it with loose 'mineral' salt----not that there's enuf mineral in it to bless yourself with, but it's colored so you can see what kinda blend you're getting. I've used soap on 3rd cutting that i debated whether or not to cut---had some get 'full' but you could always see hip.

ps---on bloated cattle, i'll stick 'em faster than you can say ''well,bob's my uncle'----kinda a little triangle between hip, rib---you know where it's at, it sticks out like sore thumb on empty cow. well, actually it sticks in like one. anyway, center of that, might have to stick something in to keep it open---if they got one last gasp left, it'll save them---bloat kills by putting pressure on diaphram and suffocating them.

Shoot, i even bloated myself one time---woke up with horrible sour stomach, fished the arm and hammer outa the fridge, evidently a bunch came out as it was kinda coagulated----deperate times, i stirred it into a slurry of oatmeal consistency and down the hatch---in about 2 min I'M bloated---and wondering where to stick and what to use for trocar----on the floor, can't get my breath---finally got pressure moving towards rear of the bus----shortly after, wife came out, shutting winders and talking about thunder and wasn't sposed to rain....
 

Doug Thorson

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I have grazed pastures that look just like that every spring since '96. I have put them in full, put them in empty, put them in in the morning and evening, put hay out and not had hay out, several times I have had it freeze the first night I put them in and I have lost one cow out of the thousands that have been through fields just like that.

Good luck and welcome aboard.
 

Northern Rancher

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It looks like it should be safe-we had a little bloat storm years ago on hay of all things-they were all calves off one bull. We ended up keeping one as a cow and she lasted till four then bloated on pasture. You are prudent and aware so you'll be on top of things if trouble arises.
 

High Plains

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Looks to me like you have little to worry about as there is plenty of grass on that pasture. Just watch 'em as you normally would. If you get a freeze then you might have some cause to be on alert.
 

coyote doctor

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Thanks everyone for your comments and it looks as if you are all correct and there wasn't much to worry about. All the yearlings seem to be doing fine and are enjoying the fresh grass and alfalfa. Now we might have to worry about mud. The weatherman is calling for 2 to 4 inches of rain Thursday and Friday! Thanks again. Great forum.
 

per

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I would give quite a bit to have a pasture that looks like that right about now. With this cold spring things are slow to spring. Welcome :)
 

Big Swede

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A friend of mine lost 5 cows in one night about 2 weeks ago. They had been on one field and when they went to the new field is when they lost them. I'm not sure how much grass there was in the stand though.
 

John SD

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Doug Thorson said:
I have grazed pastures that look just like that every spring since '96. I have put them in full, put them in empty, put them in in the morning and evening, put hay out and not had hay out, several times I have had it freeze the first night I put them in and I have lost one cow out of the thousands that have been through fields just like that.

Good luck and welcome aboard.

I have a pasture similar and have used as Doug describes. Sometimes I calve on it, which I am currently doing this year. I lost one cow a couple years ago for unknown reasons. When I found her she was dead with a live newborn calf by her side.

I don't know if her death was because of some complication of the birth, or possibly grass tetany. It did not appear she had died from getting too far over on her back.

The weather conditions at the time were like we are experiencing currently, long cool wet periods with lots of lush new green growth and no sun. I have loose TM salt with EDDI with some magnesium oxide mixed in it for grass tetany. I didn't put much in it but the cows seem to be ignoring the salt right now anyway.

Good luck, and welcome to ranchers!
 

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