COLUMBIA, Mo. — At the Missouri Pork Expo in Columbia, Corinne Bromfield talked about the importance of water quality. Bromfield is a veterinarian and University of Missouri Extension assistant professor of swine production medicine.
“Water’s important for any creature that we have under our care, whether it’s our kids, ourselves or our livestock,” she said
One of the keys is making sure there’s nothing in the water that makes pigs less willing to drink it.
“If there’s something about the water that puts pigs off the water, or that limits the pigs’ drinking, it’s going to put us off on production,” Bromfield said.
She said that with many people in the industry thinking more about when to use antibiotics and “making sure the benefits outweigh the risks of that,” one thing producers can do to promote pig health that doesn’t involve antibiotics is good water quality.
It’s important to have good flow rates for getting the water to the pigs.
“If it’s hard for the pigs to get water, it affects production,” Bromfield said.
This is because of the connection between water intake and feed intake.
“If it doesn’t drink enough, it usually won’t eat as much,” she said.
Higher rates of dissolved solids in water can also increase the likelihood of scours in pigs, she said.
“Get the water tested, typically annually,” Bromfield said, “and if you’re noticing anything unusual with the pigs, you can test it more.”
Bromfield said producers generally do well with water quality, but it’s a good topic to remind people to check every now and then.