Farm Ireland

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Breeding bloat resistant cows

Published 10/06/2015 | 02:30

Genes: Some cows are genetically predisposed to bloat
Genes: Some cows are genetically predisposed to bloat

Bloat occurs because of the froth that builds up in a cow's rumen when she eats a lot of clover. This froth traps the air that the cow normally belches out from the fermentation process.

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There has been some research carried out in the US that suggests that some cows are genetically pre-disposed to bloat, according to Teagasc researcher Brian McCarthy.

"But there's been no research done here on that yet. That would really need to be a separate project in its own right.

"First of all we need to confirm the role for clover in Irish farming systems," he said.

Until then, it's a case of farmers having to rely on their management skills to cope with the bloat risks that go hand-in-hand with bloat.

"Well managed clover swards have the potential to increase farm profitability," concluded Deirdre Hennessy.

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