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How to ensure optimal water supply

Challenge

Water is vital. Cows should have easy access to water at all times. Providing water should be based on the cows requirement on the hottest days. The right access factors to water is paramount. But what factors should be looked at?

Troughs should be well stationed all over the barn with easy access. Photo: Roodbont
Troughs should be well stationed all over the barn with easy access. Photo: Roodbont

Best practice approach

As a general rule, there should be enough water in a large trough for 20 to 25 cows (or about 10 cows for smaller troughs) or one waterer per max 15 cows. The troughs should be well stationed all over the barn with easy access. Temperature, location, accessibility and hygiene are key factors.

• Optimum water temperature is 17˚C in both summer and winter.

Location: Look around for obstructions or sharp edges as these can cause hoof damage and sole bruising. Check the alley lengths and ensure there is minimal disruption of cow traffic. A pressure waterer is a good solution if there is a lack of space for troughs.

Accessibility: It is also important to check the height of trough surface, water level should be about 55cm and there should be enough space for her head above the water level.

Hygiene: During warm weather bacteria in water is likely. The trough should be easy to clean the trough to avoid bacteria – empty daily and clean thoroughly weekly.

How to ensure optimal water supply