Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Livestock need good quality drinking water

July 6, 2015 By Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator Wayne County
As temperatures increase, so does the water requirement of our livestock. Most livestock owners know the nutrient content of the grains and forages they are feeding their livestock and can tell you if the feedstuff is low, medium or high quality. Do you know how your livestock water quality measures up? Water is the most essential of all nutrients required for our livestock but often other than making sure that water is available in sufficient quantity, little thought is given to the quality of that water. A lactating dairy cow has the highest daily water requirement of any of our farm livestock, consuming on average 25 gallons of water per day. Given that milk is 87% water, it is understandable that the daily water intake is so high. A lactating beef cow will drink on average 14 to 15 gallons per day; lactating sheep between three to four gallons per day, goats between two to three gallons per day and a lactating sow around five gallons per day. However the quantity of water consumed can be influenced by quality factors such as odor, taste, physical and chemical properties, mineral content, toxic compounds and microbial contamination. If quality is not adequate then consumption decreases, which can affect animal performance and health.
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