Are Your Cattle Getting Enough Water? Extension Specialist Justin Wagoner Shares His Summer TipsThu, 17 May 2018 11:34:30 CDT
As we approach the summer season, it is important to understand the water needs of your beef cattle herd and stay on top of the number of gallons your mama cows need on a day-to-day basis. Extension Specialist Justin Wagoner recently put out some guidelines on cow herd watering that outlines some of those things producers need to be thinking about in the hot days ahead. He shared some of those tips with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays.
“There’s an old rule of thumb out there that says cows essentially need about one to two gallons of water per 100 pounds of body weight,” Wagoner said. “Obviously, that’s a very general rule. Voluntary water intake for cows is influenced by several things.”
Two of the big influences, Wagoner mentioned, is exactly how big the cow in question is - what is her mature body weight. The other accounts for lactation, or milk production. Milk certainly has a large water component and thus would require a higher intake of water for that cow. At around 40 degrees, a mature dry cow will on average require about 9 gallons each day. Common sense tells us, though, that as temperatures rise, cows’ intake requirements rise also. Wagoner says an additional gallon of water is needed for every 10 degree increase in temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. He notes that this is just the base requirement for cattle. It is likely cattle will drink more water to adequately slake their thirst, especially when temperatures rise up above 90 and 100 degrees - the intake requirements can rise significantly.
Several other things can also factor in and cause the daily requirement of water intake to rise for a cow - things such as whether or not the herd has shade enough to escape some of the midday sunshine or if it is exposed all day long. A nice breeze also helps keep cattle cool and help to marginally ease their thirst.
Listen to Hays speak with Wagoner as he offers some of his watering tips for beef producers this summer, on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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