Water requirements for sheep and cattle

NSW DPI

Type: PDF
Knowledge level: Introductory

Farm Table says:

Informative facts on livestock water requirements due to water quality, environmental faqctors and animal factors. Interesting to find out that water high in saline is dangerous to livestock.

This fact sheet delivers information on the suitability of water and the water requirements for sheep and cattle. Water quality and consumption is an important factor in livestock production so it’s important for producers to be aware of factors which can be substandard to livestock.

The items covered in this article were:

• The importance of water for sheep and cattle

• Water quality

• Environmental factors

• Animal factors

Key points were as follows:

• Water is an important source of nutrition for all animals so it’s no different when we talk about sheep and cattle. Water intake varies for many reasons which is why it’s important to understand water quality, surrounding environmental factors and specifically, your livestock’s requirements.

• Water that is high in saline can be dangerous to livestock and cause salt poisoning. When introducing livestock to new water sources, look out for signs such as diarrhea as it can indicate an issue with the water quality.

The acceptable levels of water quality testing are as follows:

1) pH levels should be in the range of 6.5 – 8.5.

2) Salinity levels should be below 6300 (Salinity is the sum of all mineral salts present in the water, including sodium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, sulfate, and carbonate).

3) Chloride levels should be no higher than 4000 mg/L.

4) Algae growth should be controlled as excessive quantities can make water unpleasant to stock.

• Environmental factors to consider are seasonal conditions such as temperature, location, (humidity/dry heat), drought and type of pastures available for grazing by the livestock.

• Animal factors to consider are breed type, age, pregnancy, the quantity of livestock using water sources, amount of watering points available and the condition of the livestock.

2014 - Australia - NSW DPI
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