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By Fred MillerU of A System Division of Agriculture July 1, 2016
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — As summer temperatures climb into the 90s, a University of Arkansas
System Division of Agriculture animal scientist warns livestock producers that their
cattle’s water requirements increase substantially.
Dirk Philipp, associate professor and extension forages specialist, said temperatures
in the 90s double or triple cattle water requirements compared to temperatures in
Philipp said mature cattle may consume up 30 gallons of water per day in summer heat
and, pound-for-pound, calves require more water per their body weight than their mothers.
“Providing fresh water to cattle in these hot temperatures is the most important requirement
for keeping them healthy and productive,” Philipp said.
Landowners should plan water access points carefully so that cattle don’t have to
travel far to reach it, Philipp said. He recommends taking advantage of city water,
if available, because well water may be impaired. If well water is what’s available,
he suggests testing it before giving it to animals to be sure it’s safe.
Size of water access points should be large enough to accommodate several animals
at once, Philipp said. Otherwise, “lower ranking” animals may not get their share
of the water, which could lead to underperformance or even loss of those cattle.
“Water access doesn’t have to be fancy,” Philipp said. “Large tanks or troughs can
fit a lot of animals around them, and they can be fitted with shut-off valves that
keep them full without running over.”
When using ponds, Philipp said, limit direct access to the pond and route to an off-pond
access point. “This protects your pond from bank damage and helps keep the water clean
and free of mud,” he said.
More advanced grazing methods, such as rotational grazing, may require more advanced
watering systems, Philipp said.
He advises frequent checking of water access during the summer to make sure it is
functioning properly. With intense heat, just a couple days without water could spell
disaster for a herd.
“Have a backup plan, if possible,” Philipp said, “and diversify your water supply
so you can fall back on others if one fails.”
A Division of Agriculture fact sheet offering detailed information about cattle watering
systems can be downloaded from the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service website:
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity,
sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran
status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative
Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
# # #
Media Contact: Mary HightowerDir. of Communication ServicesU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) firstname.lastname@example.org