Quality Water. Quality Animals.

With the exception of oxygen, water is the single most important nutrient for livestock. Animals need a plentiful supply of good, clean water for normal digestion and metabolism, proper flow of feed through the intestinal tract, proper nutrient absorption, normal blood volume and tissue requirements. However, water quantity and quality are often overlooked on many livestock operations.

Water Sampling

Proper water-sampling procedures can help ensure an accurate water analysis. For best results, follow these steps:

  1. Select a reputable testing laboratory.
  2. Use sterile, plastic bottles supplied by the testing laboratory.
  3. Return water samples to the lab within 24 hours of collection.
  4. Sample the same water source as the animals drink.
  5. Collect samples from the stream running into the water trough, not directly from the pool of water.
  6. Collect water samples from more than one pen, barn or water trough, in more than one location.
  7. Let water run for several minutes before beginning to collect the sample.
  8. Test water twice per year (late summer and winter).

Water Analysis

  • On first sampling, a broad spectrum analysis is recommended.
  • In follow-up analysis, analyze for nitrates, sulfates, pH, Ca, Cl, Mg, K, P, Na, Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, hardness, TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) and bacteria. Most livestock water analysis packages include these.
  • A follow-up sampling should be conducted if the water contains any elements that approach or exceed the upper desired limits for livestock.
  • Use a lab that does an acid digestion of the sample prior to analysis.

Water Problems

  • Water contaminated with coliform bacteria may be detrimental to both humans and livestock. Isolation and elimination of the site of contamination is recommended.
  • Iron and manganese contamination may have their greatest impact on animal performance by decreasing water palatability as these minerals cause a bitter or astringent taste. Iron and manganese may create deposits on pipes and equipment, hindering water flow and cleaning agents. Caution should be taken when considering water iron and manganese content, as contribution to total intake is generally insignificant.
  • Nitrates/nitrites may cause reproductive failure, depressed growth in young animals, and result in poor oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.
  • Generally, sulfates have a laxative effect on livestock, thus reducing feed efficiency and performance. Identification of the type of sulfate in water will determine the type of treatment system required. Hydrogen sulfide is the most toxic of sulfates and may reduce water intake at levels as low as 0.1 mg/L.
  • Sulfur/sulfates may also affect copper and selenium absorption thus creating a need for adjustments in supplemental levels.

The Zinpro H2O Water Analysis Program

The Zinpro H2O Water Analysis Program

The Zinpro H2O Water Analysis Program is a step-by-step tool that puts you on the road to optimal water quality. The program helps assess water quality by analyzing and comparing water samples to water quality standards. Results from the program can help nutritionists, producers and veterinarians evaluate water analysis results, identify areas of concern and review signs of potential toxicosis.

Research shows that Zinpro Performance Minerals® are more available to animals in the presence of mineral antagonists in the water than other forms of trace minerals.

For more information about the benefits of receiving a comprehensive water evaluation using the Zinpro H2O Water Analysis Program, contact your Zinpro representative.