Cattle reflected in stock-tank water

A trio of Red Angus come to the stock tank for a drink and to possibly admire their reflections. The cattle are owned by Stevens Point, Wisconsin, beef producer Bill Kolodziej.

South Dakota State University Extension offers on-site livestock water testing services at all SDSU Extension Regional Extension Centers and several SDSU Extension County Offices throughout the state.

“It is critical to monitor livestock water quality, because poor quality water can have a negative effect on growth, reproduction, and general productivity of the animal. In some cases, death could occur within days or hours after consumption of contaminated waters or water deprivation,” said Robin Salverson, SDSU Extension cow-calf specialist.

Water samples can be taken to one of the SDSU Extension offices in a clean plastic or glass container including water or pop bottles, jelly jars or something similar.

A test is conducted free of charge with an electro-conductivity (EC) meter to determine total salts in the water. After consultation with an SDSU Extension field or state specialists, additional laboratory testing may be suggested.

“The appearance of water can be deceiving and the clearest of water can be the worst,” Salverson said. “Additionally, some water sources regardless if it has been dry or wet can be high in total salts. Therefore, continuous monitoring of water quality and quantity is important to maintain a productive livestock program.”

SDSU Extension locations where testing is available include: Aroura County Office, Bennett County Office, Butte/Lawrence County Office, Campbell County Office, Hamlin County Office, Hanson County Office, Harding County Office, Hutchinson County Office, Jones County Office, McCook County Office, McPherson County Office, Mellette County Office, Miner County Office, Potter County Office, Spink County Office, Walworth County Office, Ziebach County Office, Aberdeen Regional Center, Lemmon Regional Center, Mitchell Regional Center, Pierre Regional Center, Rapid City Regional Center, Sioux Falls Regional Center, Watertown Regional Center and Winner Regional Center.

Additional information on livestock water quality can be found at under the Livestock community or by contacting Robin Salverson at 605-374-4177 or Robin.Salverson@sdstate.edu.