As the year begins to heat up and cattle are on pasture, it’s important to make sure there is adequate water for livestock. How much do cattle need and where should it come from?

The water requirements for cattle depends on their size, class, and environmental conditions. High humidity and greater temperatures also increases water demand. An University of Georgia study lists water requirements for days when the daily high temperature is 90°F.

With these conditions, growing or lactating animals need two gallons of water per 100 pounds of body weight. This means a 1,400 pound, lactating cow will need close to 28 gallons of water daily with 90°F daily highs. If the calves are 250 pounds, they will need about 5 gallons. Again, some of the water will come from grazed forage.

Having fresh, clean water should always be a priority. The ability to have water close by should also be a goal, although sometimes it’s simply not possible. More water locations can help meet the water demand but could also help grazing distribution too.  Cattle will receive some of their daily water requirements when they are consuming high moisture feedstuffs such as fresh forages when grazing pastures, silages, or green chopped feeds. Feeds that are high-energy increase the water requirement.

Regarding the calf, some water will come from the milk.

Keep an eye on water this summer and make sure livestock have enough. 

By Brad Schick

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