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Water Requirements for Grazing Livestock

A general rule for water consumption is that livestock need one gallon of water for each pound of dry matter consumed. As the air temperature increases from 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, livestock need more than twice as much water.


Researchers in Alberta found that steers provided with fresh water gain 2.6 pounds per day, compared to 2.0 pounds per day when provided with pond water.


Having backup water sources can avoid or reduce problems and expenses, such as moving animals or hauling water from off-site sources.


Livestock should never have to travel more than 800 feet to get a drink. For better pasture utilization and nutrient distribution have water available in every paddock and within 800 feet of the livestock.


Portable tanks can greatly improve the flexibility of grazing systems. They can be placed under fences to supply two to four separate paddocks with water.


Control algae growth in tanks by placing a few goldfish in them. The fish keep the tanks clean by eating algae. Goldfish seem to survive winters with no problems; some tanks have had the same goldfish for eight years .


For more livestock watering info and tips, refer to the NCRS guide, "Missouri Watering Systems for Serious Graziers."

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