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Q. I have a lot of downed corn ears in my field, I have heard of this rumen inoculant that I can give to avoid acidosis. Is this something I should use?

(December 2017)

A.  Putting cattle not adapted to corn-based diets out on fields with a lot of downed corn can cause acidosis, lameness and, if severe enough, death. Un-adapted cattle get acidotic when eating corn because the bacteria that use lactic-acid have not built up in the rumen.

Lactic acid is a strong acid ―10 times stronger than other acids in the rumen― produced by bacteria when digesting corn. In gain-adapted animals bacteria in the rumen, such as Megasphaera elsdenii, will digest lactic acid, producing weaker acids in the process. This helps the rumen maintain a higher pH. Essentially, the reason why the amount of grain consumed by cattle should be slowly increased is so the population of these lactic acid-using bacteria can build up. Inoculating cattle before turning them out on down corn is to boost the population of lactic acid-using bacteria.... Read More.

Previous Questions

I have a lot of downed corn ears in my field. Can I feed sodium bicarbonate either free choice or put it in the water and turn cows out to graze? (November 2017)

Could you recommend forage I could use for fall grazing and also harvest a hay crop off? (August 2017)

Can I use a Controlled Intravaginal Drug Release (CIDR) device to bring late-calving cows into heat? (April 2017)