Alfalfa grazing is a time-honored and highly effective practice. It can be grazed alone or with other crops to feed livestock and preserve the health of the soil.

Alfalfa is an extremely nutritious vegetable.

However, some farmers are leery of letting their cattle graze on alfalfa. What is the reason for this? It is because of eating too much alfalfa can cause bloating in cattle. Why is this so bad? This article will review cattle bloat and what people can do to prevent it from occurring.

What is so Bad About Cattle Bloating?

Cattle actually like eating alfalfa very much. Alfalfa is an excellent source of protein and easily digested by cows. However, as a cow’s stomach begins to digest alfalfa, problems begin to arise.

When cattle digest food, the first two chambers in their stomach start producing gas. Normally, they can simply release this gas by burping. With alfalfa, cows cannot do this. This is because digesting the legume produces both gas and slimy bubbles. These bubbles prevent the gas from exiting a cow’s body through burping.

As gas and slime produced by seed grazing alfalfa increases in the cow’s stomach, pressure starts building up. Over time, that pressure begins to put strain on the cow’s heart and lungs. If the pressure gets bad enough, these organs may stop functioning altogether. The cow could lose its ability to breathe or pump blood through its body.

How to Graze Alfalfa and Avoid Cattle Bloating

It is still possible for cattle to get the nutritional benefits of grazing alfalfa while avoiding its dangerous side effects. Here are a few tips for feeding cows alfalfa:

• Feed cattle before letting them graze on alfalfa. When letting cattle feed on alfalfa for the first time, it is a good idea to fill them up on another feed source. This will help ensure that they do not eat too much. It also give their stomachs time to get used to digesting alfalfa.

• Feed alfalfa to cattle gradually. Start by letting cattle graze on alfalfa for about an hour. After that, move them over to another pasture. With each day, allow the cattle to graze on seed grazing alfalfa seed for a little longer until they have grown accustomed to it.

• Do not switch between dry and lush alfalfa pastures. The moisture in a lush alfalfa pasture can cause bloat. This can happen even if cows have fed on alfalfa for an extended period of time.


Forage Complete provides farmers with organic, high-yielding, non GMO alfalfa seed. It can resist most typical pests and diseases and delivers greater income per acre for dairy and beef producers.

About Forage Complete

Forage Complete is a top supplier of high-quality alfalfa seed, NuTech seed, cover crop seed and other products. The company delivers some of the finest seeds available anywhere thanks to a combination of comprehensive research and innovative technology.

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