Don’t Forget About Water
When considering livestock nutrient needs, minds tend to go directly towards energy and protein. But what about water? Water makes up about 50% of body weight in mature cattle. Naturally, this requires quite a bit of water intake. In 70℉ temperatures, a 900 pound lactating beef cow is estimated to drink around 17 gallons of water a day.
As temperatures increase, so does water intake. However, when water quality decreases, palatability does as well, leading to decreased water intake; this directly leads to depressed feed intake. If cattle aren’t eating, weight gains decrease. Because of this, clean water has been shown to increase weight gains, milk production, and reproductive performance as compared to pond water.
Pond water often contains increased total dissolved solids (minerals), manure, microorganisms, and algae. Not only do these deter cattle from drinking the water, but these can also lead health problems. Some species of algae are toxic to livestock, and microorganisms can cause disease.
There are many different ways to ensure livestock have access to clean, fresh water. If you’re interested in learning more, please call our office at 336-593-8179.