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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas cattle farmers are asked to keep their stock tanks clean,
especially in the summer. Algae, among other contaminants, can become problem when
mixed with what the cattle drink.
“Clean stock tanks for providing clean water is a requirement for raising livestock
and maintaining healthy herds,” said Dirk Philipp, an assistant professor for the
University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture “especially during the hot summer
Water is essential, regardless of the cow’s age or whether it’s dairy or beef. One
adult cow normally consumes 15-30 gallons of water each day.
“Cattle are sensitive to poorly tasting water and this will affect forage intake,
especially when hay is fed,” Philipp said.
When not properly cleaned, contaminants such as algae, viruses, parasites, and bacteria,
may accumulate inside these water containers.
So, what can we do to prevent cattle from losing their appetite or possibly being
Control, check, clean, cover
Tips from researchers with the Division of Agriculture include control, check, clean,
A clogged overflows caused by algae can cause toxins, Philipp said. Controlling the
inlets and outlets on a regular basis is very important.
Contaminants or foreign objects need to be checked since some may pose some damage
to the tank or risk cattle’s health. Leaf litter, traces of urine or feces can promote
algal growth. Checking the water’s pH, salinity and other elements are also important;
water’s pH needs to be around neutral, while salinity and other elements need to be
below the recommended limits.
When algae is spotted, take immediate action. Thorough tank cleaning requires adding
household bleach at one part for 32 parts of water, letting it sit for 15 minutes
and draining as well as scrubbing the tank wall. While it’s being cleaned, it is best
to keep livestock away from the tank for around 30 minutes.
In addition to cleaning regularly, adding about two ounces of chlorine to 50 gallons
of water every week can keep algae to grow inside the tank.
Although household bleach, chlorine, and products containing copper sulfate can be
used to disinfect tanks and clean algae, some animals may be less tolerant for a particular
substance. Sheep, for example, are less tolerant for copper and copper buildup in
their bodies may lead to toxicity, Philipp said.
To avoid high solar radiation in warm summers, researchers suggest tanks to be covered
temporarily or kept in shady areas.
For more information about crop production and agricultural economics, visit www.uaex.uada.edu or contact your county extension office.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers its programs to all
eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age,
disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and
is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
By Kezia NandaFor the Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Mary HightowerDir. of Communication ServicesU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) email@example.com