Cattle need plenty of watering space

Beef specialist Eric Bailey at the University of Missouri says cattle producers should take measures to help animals survive hot days.

“Those could include shade, those could access to water, additional water,” Bailey told Brownfield Ag News Wednesday. “Those could include as simple as hosing the cattle down especially if they’re in a confinement type situation.”

Obvious as it seems, Bailey says it pays to be sure livestock have adequate space to approach and drink from an open tank.

“What I don’t think we appreciate enough,” said Bailey, “is that water consumption is the number one heat stress abatement mechanism for ruminants.”

Bailey says cattle don’t get enough credit for adaptability. He says they can take consistent heat better than they can wide swings in temperature.

“When they’ve got a winter hair coat on and we go from a nighttime low in the teens to a daily high in the 60s,” he said, “I’ve seen just as many cattle absolutely beside themselves panting, salivating in a scenario like that.”

On hot days, says Bailey, cattle need two gallons of water for every 100 pounds of body weight.

AUDIO: Eric Bailey

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