OVERLOOK WATER FOR DAIRY CATTLE
Having plenty of clean water available for lactating cows is especially
important this time of year. A study conducted at Virginia Tech,
during July through November, found that first calf heifers producing
about 50 lbs of milk per day consumed an average of 165 lbs of water
or 20 gallons (8.345 lbs per gallon) per day. This was approximately
15% of body weight. Total water intake, including water in the feed,
was approximately 200 lbs or 19% of body weight. Larger cows producing
at high levels will consume more water.
Cows producing in excess of 100 lbs per day would be expected to
consume more than 30 gallons during the hotter times of the year.
Therefore, most herds or groups of large breed cows will consume
20 to 30 gallons of water a day. If lactating cows do not have adequate
amounts of water, milk production will suffer. Water intake will
also vary with dry matter intake, moisture content of ration, and
sense suggestions are to locate waterers in the shade, provide access
to waterers after milking, keep waterers clean, and make sure there
is enough time and space for cows to consume water during hotter
times of the day. One suggestion is to provide 2 feet of trough
space for every 15 cows. Cows will tend to drink more warm water
than cool, but cool water will be more effective in lowering cows'
body temperature during hot weather. Most nutritionists note that
herds that get a lot of milk from their cows have an abundant, clean
supply of water.