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The Importance of Water for Dairy Herds

The Importance of Water for Dairy Herds

Did you know that water has the biggest feed intake among all feed sources? Yet, most of the time it is neglected.

It is essential to have access to clean, fresh water on a daily basis. Where the supply is not mains or town water, it should be analysed at least once per year. A large supply of water should be available as soon as cows leave the dairy and at periods of stress e.g. high temperatures. The water troughs in the cows housing should allow for 2 inches of linear trough space per cow. Trough position in relation to cow movement needs to be considered to ensure ease of access.

Water troughs should be cleaned regularly. Too often when we are visiting farm, we don’t notice how dirty some troughs are. Dirty water can contain unhealthy bacteria for the cows, which we can contribute in milk production reduction, or into decreasing the animal health.

Water intake requirements of Dairy Cows (litres per day)

  WEIGHT MILK <5°C 15 °C 26 °C
HEIFERS 90 7.5 9.5 12.5
  180 14.0 17.5 23.0
  360 24.0 30.0 41.0
  550 34.0 42.0 56.0
DRY COWS 600 38.0 45.0 60.0
  700 40.0 50.0 65.0
DAIRY COWS 600 10 45.0 55.0 70.0
    20 85.0 100.0 120.0
    30 105.0 125.0 151.0
    40 125.0 145.0 175.0

Author: Denis Dreux