Water – The Forgotten Variable

IMG_4865_400pxWater, the most essential nutrient required for life, is all too often the most overlooked nutrient. Considering that a cow producing 70 lbs. (32 kg) of milk will consume about 33 gallons (126 liters), off-quality water has the potential to restrict milk production.

As cows continue to produce at ever increasing levels, any incidental stress can have a negative impact on production. Water quality which may have little or no effect on low producing cows suddenly becomes magnified when water is consumed in quantities necessary for sustained high production.

To get a better handle on water quality, we are now offering four standard water analysis packages along with a range of options. Packages and services are described on the accompanying copy of the new Water Sample Information Sheet. The packages should be used as described below:

Basic – Provides standard water measures for a general overview of water quality.

Elemental – Summarization of common elements when biological contamination is not a concern.

Health/Nutrition – Water suitability test when animal health and nutrition are at issue, particularly suitability for dry cows when DCAD is of major concern.

Complete – Provides broad spectrum of water analyses including trace elements.

Refer to the Water Sample Information Sheet (link above) to obtain a good sample. Sterilized samples bottles are available free of charge by contacting the lab. All water samples must be received by the lab within 24 hours of sampling. In the Northeast, contact us regarding the location of the nearest Dairy One pick-up point to have your samples delivered directly to the lab. Otherwise, use an overnight service to get your samples to the lab as quickly as possible.

Water Facts

  • Water covers about 75% of the earth’s surface or 146 million square miles (379 million km2)
  • The world’s water supply remains constant at 273 liters/cm2 of the earth’s surface
  • Of the world’s water supply, 268.45 liters/cm2 is sea water, 4.5 liters is continental ice, 0.1 liters is fresh water and 0.003 liters is water vapor
  • Water is the only natural substance that is found in all three phases (gas, liquid, solid) at temperatures normally found on earth
  • Movement and weathering of water through rocks and soil are major factors affecting water composition
  • Energy is released when water moves from the high energy phase of liquid water to the low energy solid phase of ice. This is why nights when water freezes often feel warmer than nights when ice melts
  • The body is about 60% water, the brain 70%, blood 82% and lungs 90%
  • According to the American Water Works Assoc., each person in the US uses about 123 gallons (465 liters) of water per day
  • Aptly named water melon is 97% water

Visit www.waterforcows.com for a tool to evaluate the results of your water analysis and their potential impact on your herd.