Farm Ireland

Monday 20 November 2017

Breeding bloat resistant cows

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

Darragh McCullough

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.

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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