Planning drinking water for livestock

Paddocks may be waterlogged, but winter is the time to plan drinking water requirements on the grazing platform ready for spring turnout.

Sufficient supplies of good quality drinking water are essential for both animal welfare and maximum milk production. Yet as grazing herds become more efficient and increase herd size, tweak stocking rate, or expand the platform, water supplies tend to lag behind tracks and fencing. Future proofing a network of pipes and troughs is the smart way to use water for a grazing herd.

It’s important to minimise waste as demand for water grows. This needs to consider upgrading old sections, as well as establishing new infrastructure for any further expansion.

But it’s not just about the size, type and number of troughs. Pressure, flow rate, pipe diameter and elevation are all important considerations. Cows like to drink together and, like other aspects of block calving, water supplies should be sized to fit peak demand on a hot day.

It’s also a good idea to set up a system of regular checks and maintenance, training the team to identify problems. Set up a protocol for reporting and repairing weak spots, leaks or damage. This will minimise problems and save waste.

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