The Stakes Have Never Been Higher for Wheat Pasture Bloat

Protect Your Investment with SWEETLIX® Bloat Guard® Blocks

By Jackie Nix, Animal Nutritionist, Ridley Block Operations

Tips to Help Reduce the Incidence of Wheat Pasture Bloat:

  • Do not turn hungry calves out on fresh wheat pastures.
  • Do not graze lush pastures that are wet from dew or rain.
  • Provide coarse hay at all times when calves move to a new pasture.
  • Feed SWEETLIX® Bloat Guard® Pressed Blocks as a preventative against bloat.

It’s a great time to be in the cattle business! With record cattle prices and beneficial rains coming into the area, it is coming together to be a very good wheat pasture season for stocker cattle raisers. However, along with those record prices come record risks in terms of money tied up in stockers.

We all know that wheat pasture bloat is a major concern for stocker operators. Wheat pasture bloat (also known as frothy bloat or Sudden Death Syndrome) is associated with cattle grazing lush, immature, wheat pastures (or alfalfa or clover or other cereal grain pastures). Death can occur in as little as 30 minutes from the onset of symptoms under ideal conditions, but commonly occurs within 3 days of turning calves onto new pastures. Death losses of 1 to 5% are common during bloat conditions and can go as high as 10 to 20% in severe outbreaks. In today’s economic environment where every calf is worth $1500 or more, losses can rack up quickly! Even sub-acute, non-lethal cases of bloat are costly. The discomfort caused by mild bloat, will cause cattle to eat and drink less resulting in lowered weight gain and a smaller payday.

To understand how to protect cattle against wheat pasture bloat, we have to understand what is occurring in the calf’s body. Bloat is an accumulation of gas in the rumen marked by abdominal distention. Bloat results when the animal is unable to belch gases out normally. Left untreated, gasses expand the rumen, compressing the heart and lungs and can result in death. In wheat pasture bloat, the gases mix with the proteins found in immature wheat to form a very stable foam within the rumen. Because gas is trapped in thousands of bubbles, it is impossible for the animal to belch it out. Since the gas is trapped in foam, it is necessary to introduce an antifoaming agent into the rumen. Poloxalene (Bloat Guard®) is such an anti-foaming agent.

Bloat Guard® is the only FDA-approved additive for the prevention of wheat pasture bloat in cattle. Bloat Guard® acts to reduce the surface tension in the bubbles so that they can combine with other bubbles and burst, thus releasing the gas. Because Bloat Guard® acts as a surfactant within the rumen, it has no residual effect. Once the rumen contents containing Bloat Guard® passes out, the calf is left unprotected for bloat. For this reason, it is critical that calves consume Bloat Guard® each and every day to maintain protective levels of Bloat Guard®.

Many Extension professionals and veterinarians will recommend the feeding of an ionophore, such as Rumensin® or Bovatec®, to stockers for bloat prevention. While ionophores will reduce the total amount of gas produced within the rumen, the remaining gas can still be trapped in foam and will accumulate over time. As such, these cattle are still susceptible to bloat under severe bloat conditions!

SWEETLIX® Bloat Guard® Pressed Blocks are sound insurance against losses caused by wheat pasture bloat. Based on a calf price of $2.50/lb, you can feed SWEETLIX® Bloat Guard® Pressed Blocks to over 270 head of stockers for the value of just one calf saved! Protect your investment for just pennies per day and safely utilize high quality wheat pastures without worry. SWEETLIX® Bloat Guard® Pressed Blocks offer reliable, self-fed protection in a convenient block. SWEETLIX® Molasses Based Technology™ results in high quality blocks that attract stocker calves, even under lush conditions, so calves reliably receive adequate levels of Bloat Guard® on a daily basis. These blocks will not crumble or fall apart in the field during normal conditions and can be placed directly on the ground – no expensive bunks or feeders necessary, unlike top dressings or minerals.

In summary, sleep better at night by feeding Bloat Guard®, the only FDA-approved prevention for wheat pasture bloat. SWEETLIX® Bloat Guard® Pressed Blocks provide an easy, reliable method to deliver protective amounts of Bloat Guard® on a daily basis. SWEETLIX® has manufactured Bloat Guard® in a self-fed block for over 20 years for tried and true results. Cattle producers can safely utilize these high quality wheat pastures without worry or loss.

For more information, click on the following link:  SWEETLIX® Bloat Guard® Pressed Blocks
To find your local SWEETLIX® dealer go to or call 1-87SWEETLIX.

SWEETLIX® is a registered trademark of Ridley Block Operations
Bloat Guard® is a registered trademark of Phibro
Rumensin® is a registered trademark of Elanco Animal Health
Bovatec® is a registered trademark of Zoetis