A Charles Sturt University professor is warning farmers in the southern Riverina to be on the watch for cow bloat, after a number of cases were identified via a new phone app.
Professor in agriculture Bruce Allworth said producers around Culcairn, Albury, Holbrook and Wagga should stay vigilant, after six cases of bloat in cattle were reported on the Bloat Alert app, which was designed earlier this year by CSU.
Professor Allworth said cows could bloat if they ate rich pastures, such as clover or lucerne, too quickly.
"Bloat is something where cattle die very suddenly and I'm talking about over a 24 hour period from looking normal to being dead," he said.
"They accumulate gas and they can't burp out that gas, they get a foamy substance across the top of their rumen it blocks the gas in and the rumen just expands and gets bigger and bigger and bigger.
"That stops them breathing and then they asphyxiate and drop dead."
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Professor Allworth said the last two years had been particularly bad for cattle bloat, but this year it had only started in the last week or so.
"Hopefully it'll only last for three or four weeks," he said.
"It's just for this period, late winter early spring, that pastures with good clover in it often become clover dominant.
"Then the animals select that clover and often end up with a very high clover content diet."
The free Bloat Alert app has attracted 132 users since it was released in June.
Professor Allworth said people could submit reports to app to record when and where they'd had instances of bloat.
"Once that report is submitted it alerts all other users within that area," he said.
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