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Water quality and use on dairy studied

An animal science professor says it takes a lot of good quality water to make a pound of milk… but the cow doesn’t consume it all.

Dr. Paul Kononoff

Dr. Paul Kononoff with the University of Nebraska says good quality water supplies cows with about 4% of their mineral intake, but there are sometimes elements in the water that cause problems.  “Probably the two most common things we see across the United States are sulfates and iron, and iron can certainly depress water intake and sulfate has a number of limitations of tying up minerals that are important to cows.”

Kononoff says studies show it takes 122 gallons of water to produce a pound of milk, but more than 90% of that water is used to produce feed and less than 1% is consumed by the cows.

Kononoff says testing the farm’s water is important. “At least twice a year for two reasons:  Number one, to see where you are on the baseline for your cows but also for a safety for any animal, and most importantly humans that are consuming that water as well.”

He says knowing what is in the water can help farmers prevent consumption of sulfates that can impact rumen function.

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