How does water quality affect cattle health?
Water is the most essential element to sustaining life on the farm. As a medium through which plants and animals intake vital nutrients and minerals, it is not surprising that water quality is a crucial consideration for farmers.
When raising cattle in Australia, access to clean drinking water can be wanting. With droughts, pollution and salinity all featuring in rural water quality, farmers need to consider the affects these can have on their livestock.
Animals that have good access to clean, contaminant-free drinking water are less prone to illness and disease, gain more weight, and produce more milk.
There are three specific issues that can affect water quality on farms:
High levels of salt in drinking water can be detrimental to the health and performance of cattle, causing muscle loss and scouring.
Additionally, livestock will generally refuse to drink highly saline water, leading to dehydration and reduced performance. This is particularly troublesome for farmers operating breeding programs, as pregnant and lactating animals are less tolerant of salty water.
Algae contaminating surface water and troughs can cause drinking water to develop a foul taste and smell that discourages cattle from drinking. Further effects of algae can include stagnation from reduced oxygen levels and potential stock poisoning through either the algae themselves or other microbes coexisting with algae in the troughs.
When water is sourced from reserves close to animal holdings, manure and other pollution can make water unsuitable for drinking. Contaminated water is dangerous to young or weak stock and may reduce performance.
Improve livestock performance with Hydrosmart technology
Farmers concerned about water quality can benefit from Hydrosmart technology being installed on their water pipes. A Hydrosmart water treatment system will improve cattle water by breaking down the bonds between harmful ion pairs and making nutrients more bioavailable to livestock.
Hydrosmart technology is routinely used to address salinity issues, and ensures that cattle are not affected by toxic salt levels.