Drinking Post & Cattle Producers
According to the USDA, cattle production is the most important agricultural industry in the United States. Raising beef is very complex compared to other foods – Cattle Producers have a big and important task! Here at Drinking Post it’s our job to make your life easier! Water is the most important nutrient for any animal and good hydration is vital for healthy cattle. In fact, there is a proven correlation between water intake and weight gain in cattle. The more water your cows drink, the more they will grow. So if you want healthy cows that grow quickly, they need to be drinking more water!
How do we get our cows to drink more?
The best way to encourage more water intake is to make the water more palatable for your cattle…
Water quality is very important for cattle! If your water is stagnate or full of algae, this will greatly reduce your cattle’s water intake. Most troughs, tanks, and other automatic waterers have a reservoir of standing water that the cattle will drink out of. This reservoir gets stagnate, grows algae, attracts bugs, and collects dirt, debris, bacteria, and other particulates. In order to avoid this, you end up doing a lot of work cleaning your tanks and waterers. On the other hand, the Drinking Post keeps your water incredibly fresh and clean with no cleaning or maintenance on your part! Every time your cattle push the paddle, they get brand-new, fresh water directly from the waterline!
Water temperature is equally as important as water quality, but it’s often overlooked. Most watering products don’t have a way to control water temperature. The water in most troughs, tanks, and automatic waterers just fluctuates with the outside temp. This means it gets very hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. These extreme water temps can greatly deter your cattle from drinking. Cattle prefer water that’s between 40 – 65 degrees F (4 – 18 degrees C). The Drinking Post provides water that is 50 degrees F (10 degrees C) year round. This is the perfect drinking temp for cattle and will result in higher water consumption! Since the water comes up from 18″ below the local frostline, the water stays at at this constant temp all year long.
Water Quality vs. Weight Gain
There are several studies that have looked at the correlation between water quality and weight gain in cattle. Below we have compiled studies that show high water quality leads to increased water intake, and increased water intake leads to weight gains in cattle.
Australian Journal of Agricultural Research
- According to a study published in the Australian Journal of Agricultural Research in 2005, titled “The effect of water quality on cattle performance on pasture”, cattle with access to higher quality water had improved daily weight gains. This improvement was seen to be caused by improved water palatability, which increased water and feed consumption and increased weight gains.
University of Saskatchewan
- According to a study by the University of Saskatchewan, titled “Livestock Water Quality: A Field Guide for Cattle, Horses, Poultry and Swine”, “observations on the behavior of cattle in the field indicate that cattle having access to fresh water will consume more forage”.
- Water contaminates can have adverse effects on growth rate, feed conversion ratio, reproductive success, milk yield, and product quality.
- “Several water quality parameters such as pH, salinity, odor, taste etc., may affect palatability. Contaminants in water may affect intake of both water and feed”.
- “If water quality affects feed intake, reduced feed consumption may affect performance”.
Public Library of Science (this study is part of the Sustainable Farms Initiative at the Australian National University)
- A peer-reviewed study published last year (2021) by the Public Library of Science, titled “Increased livestock weight gain from improved water quality in farm dams: A cost-benefit analysis”, states that “cattle will on average gain an additional 11% in weight by switching from water sourced from dams in poor condition to dams in good condition”.
- They determined that the economic benefits of providing high quality water to cattle outweigh the economic costs.
University of Kentucky
- According to an article titled “Drinking Water Quality Guidelines for Cattle”, published by the University of Kentucky, cattle prefer water between 40 – 65 degrees F (4.4 – 18.3 degrees C), and when the water temperature is more than 80ºF (27°C), water and feed intake rates often decrease, affecting animal productivity.
NDSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
- Calves, with cows drinking clean water, gained 9% more (P < 0.10) weight than those with cows on pond (direct)
- Cattle avoided water that was contaminated with 0.005% fresh manure by weight when given a choice of clean water. Cattle that had access to clean water spent more time grazing and less time resting than those that were offered pond (trough) or pond (direct)