Ruminal acidosis: Beef Research School episode

Posted on by
Retrieved: September 18, 2021, 5:45 pm

Acidosis refers to a lower than normal pH in the rumen.  It is a growth performance, health and welfare concern caused by highly fermentable feed being digested too quickly, and typically seen when cattle are moved from a predominantly forage-based to grain-based diet.  Cattle that engorge on forages are also at risk.

Acidosis can cause diarrhea, reduced feed intake, and depressed behavior.  Once an animal recovers, it is likely to be feed deprived, leading it to overeat and be susceptible to more severe acidosis. Severe acidosis can lead to rumen ulcers, which allow bacteria into the blood stream causing further health problems, and death.

The latest video in the Beef Research School features Dr. Greg Penner, a professor and accomplished researcher at the University of Saskatchewan focused on cattle nutrition and gut function.  A feedlot operator in Southern Alberta highlights the main risk factors in feedlot cattle and prevention through monitored delivery of a feeding program that gradually changes rations.  A nutritionist can help develop a step-up feeding plan for your operation.

See the video here:

Stay tuned for more episodes of the Beef Research School, which will soon cover the topic of antimicrobial resistance in a series of three videos.  Past episodes covered footrot and other lameness, using RFI to select for feed efficiency, and extended grazing systems. For more information on the Beef Research School, visit

Learn more about ruminal acidosis

Get a handle on feedlot acidosis
Bovine Veterinarian Online

Health Management: Grain Overload
Alberta Feedlot Management Guide$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/beef11734

Nutrition and Management: Principles of Bunk Management
Alberta Feedlot Management Guide$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/beef11704

Subacute Ruminal Acidosis
The Merck Veterinary Manual

Variation in the Susceptibility to Ruminal Acidosis: Challenge or Opportunity?
Gregory Penner, Ph.D., and Karen Beauchemin, Ph.D.

Acidosis in cattle: a review
Journal of Animal Science


Click here to subscribe to the BCRC Blog and receive email notifications when new content is posted.

The sharing or reprinting of this BCRC Blog article is welcome and encouraged. Please provide acknowledgement to the Beef Cattle Research Council, list the website address,, and let us know you chose to share the article by emailing us at

We welcome your questions, comments and suggestions. Contact us directly or generate public discussion by posting your thoughts below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *