Forage Focus: Summer Water Requirements For Cattle
As I write this article in May, we are already experiencing temperatures in the upper 80’s combined with scare rainfall. There are creeks dry in May that haven’t been dry in May in a long time. It may turn out to be a hot, dry summer. Water may become an issue in some pasture situations. While we often talk a lot about nutrition, forage quality, and mineral needs, water is sometimes taken for granted, almost overlooked. Yet water is the most essential nutrient for livestock production. Cattle can survive for a number of days, even up to weeks without food, but will die within a few days without water. Assuming that the goal of most cattle producers is more than just cattle survival, it is important that cattle receive a sufficient quantity of water each day to maximize feed intake, produce milk for the calf, and maintain a healthy reproductive cycle.