Thursday, September 29, 2011

flooded corn and your cows

A good amount of standing corn was flooded last month and in early september, and some of that is now being chopped for silage. A concern with these feeds that have soilborne contamination is the likelihood of clostridial spores being present in higher amounts in this harvested feed.

Most corn that is properly ensiled will not have minimal concerns of disease with this because of the moisture range and a pH below 4.5; those cases with higher moisture and less than ideal fermentation conditions, which can occur on all farms, could have higher levels of Clostridial activity. Generally C.perfringens is lower in inoptimal silage than other Clostridial species. If however there is a higher spore count in the silage, there would be greater risk of GI disturbances and subsequent higher risk of enterotoxemia and other clostridial caused disease. 

It is often a good recommendation in general, in our part of the country, to include a 7/8 way clostridial vaccine in dairy cattle vaccination programs all the time. Some may add Type A, but it is optional.

Consider at the next herd check or farm visit discussing this vaccine, which provides good protection at low cost, and particularly if you have any corn that has been exposed to flood waters. It's an effective vaccine simply for cases where any forage has less than ideal fermentation and storage or with injection site infections that may favor growth of an anaerobe like Clostridium.