Water for Dairy Cattle

Transcript

1 C I X O E S M Water for Dairy Cattle T Cooperative Extension Service A W T E E College of Agriculture and N U Home Economics Y N T I Guide D-107 I V S E R Michael L. Looper, Extension Dairy Specialist, New Mexico State University Dan N. Waldner, Extension Dairy Specialist, Oklahoma State University This publication is scheduled to be updated and reissued 2/07. ter consumed, temperature and relative humidity of INTRODUCTION the environment, temperature of the water, quality and availability of the water, and amount of moisture in Water constitutes 60 to 70 percent of a livestock her feed. Water is an especially important nutrient animal’s body. Water is necessary for maintaining during periods of heat stress. The physical properties body fluids and proper ion balance; digesting, absorb- of water are important for the transfer of heat from the ing, and metabolizing nutrients; eliminating waste body to the environment. During periods of cold stress, material and excess heat from the body; providing a the high heat capacity of body water acts as insulation– fluid environment for the fetus; and transporting nutri- conserving body heat. Water intake (lbs/day) for lactat- ents to and from body tissues. Dairy cattle get the wa- ing cows can be predicted from the following equation: ter they need by drinking and consuming feed that contains water, as well as from metabolic water pro- duced by the oxidation of organic nutrients. Water Water intake, lbs/day = loss from the body occurs via urine, feces, and milk; 35.25 + 1.58 x Dry matter intake (lbs/day) through sweating; and by evaporation from body sur- + 0.90 x Milk yield (lbs/day) faces and the respiratory tract. The amount of water + 0.11 x Sodium intake (grams/day) lost from a cow’s body is influenced by the animal’s + 2.65 x Weekly mean minimum temperature activity, air temperature, humidity, respiratory rate, ° ( F/1.8 – 17.778) water intake, feed consumption, milk production and other factors. This publication covers water intake The equation predicts water consumption will guidelines and water quality issues for dairy cattle. change 1.58 pounds for each 1.0-pound change in dry matter consumed, 0.90 pounds for each 1.0-pound of milk produced, 0.11 pounds for each gram of sodium WATER INTAKE AND REQUIREMENTS consumed, and 1.47 pounds for each degree Fahren- heit (F) change in weekly mean minimum tempera- Drinking water or free water in- Lactating cows: ture. Weekly mean minimum temperature typically is take satisfies 80 to 90 percent of a dairy cow’s total 10 to 15 ° F lower than mean daytime temperature. water needs. The amount of water a cow drinks de- Table 1 lists the estimated daily water intake for lac- pends on her size and milk yield, quantity of dry mat- tating cows using the above equation. a Table 1. Estimated daily water consumption for a 1,500-pound lactating cow producing 40 to 100 pounds of milk daily . Estimated b Milk Production DM Intake Mean Minimum Temperature 60ºF 80ºF (lbs/day) (lbs/day) 40ºF 50ºF 70ºF c ——————— ———————gallons per day 40 42 18.4 20.2 22.0 23.7 25.5 48 21.8 23.5 25.3 27.1 28.9 60 80 54 25.1 26.9 28.7 30.4 32.2 100 60 28.5 30.3 32.1 33.8 35.6 a Sodium intake = 0.18% of DM intake. b F lower than the mean daytime temperature. Mean minimum temperature typically is 10 to 15 ° c 1 gallon of water weighs 8.32 pounds. To find more resources for your business, home, or family, visit the College of Agriculture and Home Economics on the World Wide Web at www.cahe.nmsu.edu

2 rates of water intake vary from 1 to 4 gallons per The major factors affecting free water Dry cows: minute. On the basis of farm studies, the length of wa- intake of dry cows are concentration of dry matter in ter troughs should be 2 inches per cow with an opti- the diet, dry matter intake and amount of protein in mal height of 24-32 inches. Reducing the height 2 to 3 the diet. Water intake of dry cows can be estimated by inches may be logical for Jerseys. Water depth should the following equation: be a minimum of 3 inches to allow the animal to sub- merge its muzzle 1 to 2 inches. Provide at least one Water intake, lbs/day = watering device for every 15 to 20 cows, or a mini- -22.80 + 0.5062 x Diet dry matter (%) mum of 2 feet of tank space per 20 cows. At least two +2.212 x Dry matter intake (lb/day) water locations are needed in the loafing area for each 2 +0.0869 x Diet crude protein (%) group of cows. For confinement operations, waterers should be allocated at milking parlor exit and within For example, a 1,500-pound nonlactating cow that 50 feet of the feed bunk or at every crossover in eats 28 pounds of dry matter containing 12 percent freestall barns. Heifers should be provided at least one moisture and 12 percent crude protein would consume watering space per 20 animals with a minimum of two 96 pounds (11.6 gallons) of water per day at air tem- waterers per group. peratures between 50ºF and 80ºF. Water intake may be The temperature of drinking water has only a slight 120 to 200 percent greater during periods of heat stress. effect on drinking behavior and animal performance. During the liquid feeding Calves and heifers: Under most circumstances, responses to chilling water stage, calves receive most of their water as milk or would not warrant the additional cost. Given a choice, milk replacer. However, studies show that calves of- cows prefer to drink water with moderate tempera- fered water by free choice in addition to a liquid diet F) rather than very cold or hot water. ° tures (63-82 gain faster and consume dry feed earlier than calves provided water only in their liquid diet. Therefore, it is recommended to provide water by free choice to WATER QUALITY calves receiving liquid diets to enhance growth and dry matter intake. Water quality is an important issue in dairy cattle Weaned dairy heifers consume approximately 1.0 production and health. The five properties most often to 1.5 gallons of water per 100 pounds of body weight considered in assessing water quality for both humans (table 2). As with all livestock, water should be and livestock are organoleptic properties (odor and fresh, clean and always available. Care should be taste), physiochemical properties (pH, total dissolved taken to ensure adequate water supplies during peri- solids, total dissolved oxygen and hardness), along ods of heat stress. with the presence of toxic compounds (heavy metals, Table 2. Estimated water intake for dairy heifers. toxic minerals, organophosphates and hydrocarbons), Air Temperature Weight excess minerals or compounds (nitrates, sodium sul- fates and iron) and bacteria and algae. Research on (lbs) 80ºF 60ºF 40ºF water contaminants and their effects on cattle perfor- ————gallons per day———— mance are sparse. The following discussion attempts 2.0 200 2.4 3.3 to define some common water quality problems in re- 3.8 6.1 400 4.6 lation to cattle performance. 600 8.7 5.4 6.5 and total Salinity, total dissolved solids (TDS) soluble salts (TSS) are measures of constituents 8.2 11.0 6.8 800 soluble in water. Sodium chloride is the first consider- 1000 12.7 9.6 8.0 ation in this category. Other components associated 14.5 1200 9.0 10.8 with salinity, TDS, or TSS are bicarbonate, sulfate, calcium, magnesium and silica. A secondary group of constituents, found in lower concentrations than the DRINKING BEHAVIOR major constituents, includes iron, nitrate, strontium, potassium, carbonate, phosphorus, boron and fluoride. Providing the opportunity for livestock to consume Guidelines for TDS in water for dairy cattle are pre- a relatively large amount of clean, fresh water is es- sented in table 3. sential. Water is consumed several times per day and Research has shown feedlot cattle drinking saline generally is associated with feeding or milking. Cows water (TDS = 6,000 parts per million, ppm) had lower may consume 30 to 50 percent of their daily water weight gains than cattle drinking normal water (TDS intake within 1 hour after milking (fig. 1). Reported Guide D-107 • Page 2

3 = 1,300 ppm), when the ration’s energy content was can be used in the rumen as a source of ni- Nitrate low and during heat stress. High-energy rations and trogen for synthesis of bacterial protein, but reduction cold environmental temperatures negated the detri- to nitrite also occurs. When absorbed into the body, mental effects of high-saline water consumption. nitrite reduces the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood Likewise, milk production of dairy cows drinking sa- and in severe cases results in asphyxiation. Symptoms of nitrate or nitrite poisoning are labored breathing, line water (TDS = 4,400 ppm) was not different from rapid pulse rate, frothing at the mouth, convulsion, that of cows drinking normal water during periods of blue muzzle and bluish tint around eyes, and choco- low environmental temperature. But it was signifi- late brown blood. More moderate levels of nitrate poi- cantly lower during summer months. Cows offered soning have been linked to poor growth, infertility salty water drank more water per day (36 versus 32 gallons per cow) over a 12-month period than cows problems, abortions, vitamin A deficiencies, reduced milk production and general unhealthiness. drinking normal water. The general safe concentration of nitrate in water is Table 3. Guidelines for use of saline waters for dairy cattle. less than 44 ppm and less than 10 ppm of nitrate-ni- trogen (table 5). In evaluating potential nitrate prob- Total Dissolved Solids (ppm) Comments lems, feed also should be analyzed for nitrate in that the effects of feed and water are additive. Presents no serious burden to livestock. Less than 1,000 Sulfate guidelines for water are not well-defined, but general recommendations are less than 500 ppm Should not affect health or performance,but 1,000 to 2,999 for calves and less than 1,000 ppm for adult cattle. may cause temporary mild diarrhea. When sulfate exceeds 500 ppm, the specific salt form Generally satisfactory, but may cause diarr- 3,000 to 4,999 of sulfate or sulfur should be identified, since the hea especially upon initial consumption. form of sulfur is an important determinant of toxicity. 5,000 to 6,999 Can be used with reasonable safety for adult Hydrogen sulfide is the most toxic form and concen- ruminants. Should be avoided for pregnant tration as low as 0.1 milligrams per liter can reduce animals and baby calves. water intake. Common forms of sulfate in water are 7,000 to 10,000 Should be avoided if possible. Pregnant, calcium, iron, magnesium and sodium salts. All are lactating, stressed or young animals can be laxative, but sodium sulfate is the most potent. Cattle affected negatively. consuming water high in sulfates (2,000–2,500 ppm) Over 10,000 Unsafe. Should not be used under any show diarrhea initially, but appear to become resistant conditions. to the laxative effect. Iron sulfate has been reported to ppm = parts per million be the most potent depressor of water intake com- pared with other sulfate forms. Water and feed with high sulfate contents have been linked to polioence- is generally expressed as the sum of Hardness phalomalacia (thiamin deficiency) in beef calves. calcium and magnesium reported in equivalent amounts of calcium carbonate. Other cations in wa- Table 5. Concentration of nitrates (NO ) and ter, such as zinc, iron, strontium, aluminum and 3 nitrate-nitrogen (NO -N) in drinking water and 3 manganese, can contribute to hardness but usually expected response. are very low in concentration compared with cal- NO -N NO cium and magnesium. Hardness categories are listed 3 3 (ppm) (ppm) Comments in table 4. Water hardness has no effect on animal 0-44 10 No harmful effects. performance or water intake. 45-132 11-20 Safe, if diet is low in nitrates and nutritionally balanced. Table 4. Water hardness guidelines. a Hardness, milligrams/liter Category Could be harmful if consumed over a long 21-40 133-220 Soft 0-60 period of time. 61-120 Moderately hard 41-100 Dairy cattle at risk; possible death losses. 221-660 Hard 121-180 > 180 Very hard High probability of death losses; unsafe. 661-800 101-200 a 1 grain/gal = 17.1 milligrams per liter Over 800 Over 200 Do not use; unsafe. ppm = parts per million Guide D-107 • Page 3

4 excess of 500 per 100 milliliters may indicate water- quality problems. Water sources with total bacteria counts in excess of 1 million per 100 milliliters should be avoided for all livestock classes. Most water sup- plies will have counts below 200 per 100 milliliters continuously. Blue-green algae have been reported to cause ill- ness when cattle are allowed to consume water con- taining this organism. Although the causative agent has not been identified specifically, cattle should be prevented from drinking water with heavy algae growth. Symptoms in blue-green algae poisoning in- clude ataxia or incoordination of voluntary muscle movement, bloody diarrhea, convulsions and sudden death. This is an occasional problem in freestanding water, such as farm ponds. Shading water troughs and Figure 1. Cows may consume 30 to 50 percent of their daily frequent sanitation will minimize algae growth. water intake within 1 hour after milking. Other potentially toxic compounds and organ- isms sometimes are found in water and can pose a pH is a measure of acidity or alkalinity. A pH of 7 health hazard to cattle. For safe consumption, water is neutral, less than 7 is acidic and more than 7 is al- contaminants should not exceed the guidelines in kaline. Little is known about the specific pH’s effect table 6. However, many dietary, physiologic and envi- on water intake, animal health and production, or the ronmental factors affect these guidelines and make it microbial environment in the rumen. The preferred impossible to accurately determine the concentrations pH of drinking water for dairy animals is 6.0 to 8.0. at which problems may occur. Waters with a pH outside of the preferred range may cause nonspecific effects related to digestive upset, Table 6. Generally considered safe concentrations of diarrhea, poor feed conversion and reduced water and some potentially toxic nutrients and contaminants in feed intake. water for cattle. Microbiological analysis of water for coliform Upper-Limit Guideline bacteria and other microorganisms is necessary to de- (ppm) Item termine sanitary quality (fig. 2). Since some coliform bacteria are soil borne or nonfecal, a fecal coliform Aluminum 0.50 test may be used to determine if the source of total Arsenic 0.05 coliform is at least in part from feces. A fecal strepto- Barium 10.0 cocci test may be run on fresh samples to determine if 5.0 Boron the contamination is from animal or human sources. If 0.005 Cadmium fecal coliforms exceed fecal streptococci, human 0.10 Chromium sources of pollution may be suspect. If fecal strepto- Cobalt 1.0 cocci exceed fecal coliform, animal sources of pollu- 1.0 Copper tion are indicated. For animal consumption, especially Fluoride 2.0 young calves, total and fecal coliform counts should Iron 2.0 be less than 1 per 100 milliliters. For adult animals, Lead 0.015 total and fecal coliform counts should be under 15 and 0.05 Manganese 10 per 100 milliliters, respectively. It is recommended 0.01 Mercury that fecal streptococci counts not exceed 3 or 30 per Nickel 0.25 100 milliliters for calves and adult cattle, respectively. 0.05 Selenium Total bacteria count measures virtually all patho- Vanadium 0.10 genic as well as noninfectious bacteria that use or- Zinc 5.0 ganic nutrients for growth. Total bacteria counts in ppm = parts per million Guide D-107 • Page 4

5 REFERENCES Beede, D.K. 1992. Water for Dairy Cattle. In: Large Dairy Herd Management. Ed. H.H. Van horn and C.J. Wilcox. Amer. Dairy Sci. Assoc. Champaign, Ill. Dairy Practices Council. 1990. Guidelines for Po- table Water on Dairy Farms 3rd rev. ed. Barre, Vt. McFarland, D.F. 2000. Feed Area and Water Space Design. In: Dairy Housing and Equipment Sys- tems. NRAES-129. Ithaca, NY. Murphy, M.R., C.L. Davis and G.C. McCoy. 1983. Factors affecting water consumption by Holstein cows in early lactation. J. Dairy Sci. 66:35. National Research Council. 2001. Nutrient Require- Figure 2. Microbiological analysis of water for coliform bacte- ments of Dairy Cattle 7th rev. ed. Washington, ria and other microorganisms is necessary to determine sani- D.C.: National Academy Press. tary quality. WATER SAMPLING AND TESTING Typically, 1 or 2 quarts of water from the source in question should be adequate to complete any needed tests. Samples may be sent to any accredited commer- cial or state operated laboratory for analyses. Produc- ers should consult with their herd veterinarian or state Extension personnel for assistance in selecting a labo- ratory, as well as for assistance in selecting appropri- ate tests and interpreting results. SUMMARY Water availability and quality are extremely impor- tant for animal health and productivity. Limiting wa- ter availability to cattle will depress production rap- idly and severely. The most common water quality problems affect- ing livestock production include high concentrations of minerals (excess salinity), high nitrogen content (nitrates and nitrites), bacterial contamination, heavy growth of blue-green algae and accidental contamina- tion by petroleum, pesticides or fertilizer products. On the basis of the scientific literature, no wide- spread specific production problems have been caused by consumption of low quality water. Poor water quality might cause reduced production or nonspecific diseases and should be one aspect investigated when there are herd health and production problems. Guide D-107 • Page 5

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8 New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. NMSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Printed February 2002 Las Cruces, NM 5C Guide D-107 • Page 8

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