Contaminated water (from faeces, feed dropped into troughs by cattle and other organic material) will reduce intakes as stock are likely to be put off by the taste and smell. Managing water quality is not only important for intakes but to remove bacteria and the increased risk of diseases such as Leptospirosis, Johne’s and E coli all of which can be spread by water contamination.
While the water troughs are in use the water is replaced fast enough to prevent a build-up of bacteria however when a cattle shed is empty over the summer or fields are ungrazed for a length of time problems can occur.
With cattle now out to grass, it is worth remembering to empty and clean out water troughs to stop stale and potentially dirty, contaminated water sitting in troughs until cattle are housed again. Equally for fields which may not have been grazed for a while empty out the water from the trough and clean it thoroughly before cattle go out into the field. Grass shortages this spring have seen fields being grazed that would ordinarily be cut for silage so check the water supply in these fields and clean out troughs by draining the old water out and scooping out any debris before allowing the trough to fill.
Sarah Balfour, firstname.lastname@example.org
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