Summer appears to have arrived as temperatures are starting to rise, which means that ensuring that cows have access to water at all times is vital.

During wetter weather, water intakes are reduced as the dry matter (DM) content of the grass is lower. During drier spells the DM of the grass in higher – which means that cows have to drink a lot more water.

Milk is almost 90% water and cows drink 4-4.5L of water/kg of milk produced.

So ensuring that cows have access to adequate, clean water is important – especially as we enter into the warmer summer months.

Access to water

This time of year, when water is in high demand from cows, also gives an insight as to how well water systems are working.

If a trough is empty after cows use it, it is likely that the flow of water is lower than the demand.

In this scenario, a wider pipe is often required to increase the amount of water that can flow through the system.

On some farms where cows are walking longer distances it may also be useful to install troughs on highly trafficked areas, i.e. near the parlour or along roadways.

These can cause delays, so if placing them near the parlour it is advisable to put them somewhere that cows can only access after milking or while they are in the collecting yard.

Before cows enter into a new paddock the trough should be checked to ensure that it is working and cows aren’t potentially left without water.

You should also remove algae or foreign objects that are present in the water troughs, as this can reduce intakes from cows.

The emptying and cleaning of troughs should be done a fairly regular basis to prevent build up of algae or other substances.