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Ruminal acidosis is a digestive disorder characterized by low rumen pH (more acidic than normal). Cattle are at greatest risk for acidosis when consuming feed that is high in rapidly fermentable carbohydrates, particularly when they have not had adequate time to adapt to a high-energy supplemental feed. Cattle that go off feed for an extended period are also at risk when they resume feed intake. Ruminal acidosis can result from errors in ration formulation and/or feeding strategies.
Ruminal acidosis can occur in beef cattle of all ages. Risk for ruminal acidosis increases when calves are weaned onto rations high in rapidly fermentable carbohydrates, especially when they have not had time to adapt to the new ration. Calves are also at risk when creep-fed supplements high in rapidly fermentable carbohydrates. Mature cows and bulls are at greatest risk of ruminal acidosis when provided new or irregular access to supplemental feeds high in rapidly fermentable carbohydrates, as may occur during drought conditions.
Timely Information - Preventing Ruminal Acidosis When Using Supplemental Feeds for Beef Cattle.pdf
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