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Importance of Water-Dairy Calves

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July 24  |  Dairy, Farm, farmers, farms, Immune System, Latest News, Livestock, News, Nutrition  |   Webmaster

Following is an excellent and timely article from Progressive Dairyman magazine –

The award-winning magazine’s editors and contributors provide compelling features, helpful articles, insightful news analysis, and entertaining commentary about the people, practices and topics related to a dairy lifestyle.

Why high-quality water matters for calf success

Contributed by Ellan Dufour Published on 30 May 2018

Often overlooked, water is the most important nutrient for dairy calves. It is required for all of life’s processes including the transport, digestion and metabolism of nutrients, the elimination of waste materials and excess heat from the body, and the maintenance of a proper fluid-ion balance in the body.

The role of water in young calves

Offering calves free-choice water is critical for stimulating rumen development, improving grain fermentation and promoting starter intake. The quality of water offered can play a major role in calf health and nutrient utilization.

Rumen development: Unlike milk and milk replacer, water consumed by young calves is transported to the rumen rather than the abomasum. Water in the rumen provides a medium for ruminal bacteria to ferment starter feed, grain and hay. Rumen development is slowed in the absence of water.

Improved growth: Calves offered free-choice water in addition to their liquid diet are shown to gain weight faster and consume dry feed quicker than calves only receiving water through their milk or milk replacer.

Calf health: Calves are about 70 to 75 percent water by bodyweight and need to consume fresh water in order to maintain normal cellular functions. Dehydration can lead to weakness, severe weight loss and even death. Signs of dehydration include sunken eyes, dry mouth and nose, tacky gums, depressed demeanor, irregular pulse and cold legs and ears.

How much and when?

  • Pre-weaning: On average, calves consume 1 quart of water per pound of dry matter intake.
  • Post-weaning: Calves should consume 2 quarts of water per pound of dry matter intake. This ratio should extend through the heifer growing period.
  • Hot weather: Expect water consumption to increase by 33 percent or more as temperatures reach the high 70s, and anticipate it may double as temperatures pass 90ºF.

Factors affecting water quality

Offering poor-quality water to the young calf may impact water consumption and starter intake, calf health, rumen development and the value of milk replacer and electrolytes. There are many criteria involved in assessing water quality. These include organoleptic properties (odor and taste), physiochemical properties (pH, total dissolved solids [TDS], total soluble salts and hardness), presence of toxic compounds, presence of excess minerals or compounds (see Table 1), and presence of bacteria.

Hardness: Calves are very sensitive to sodium and struggle to tolerate excess sodium levels. Soft water or hard water that has passed through a water softener can have very high concentrations of sodium and should not be used to mix milk replacer or be offered as drinking water unless tested. High sodium levels can lead to neurological diseases and central nervous system derangement in young calves.

Osmolarity: In situations where total solids are high in milk or milk replacer (over 15 percent), offering high-quality water can sustain the osmotic equilibrium in a calf. High total solids can force water out of cells in an effort to find osmotic balance within the gut and can result in diarrhea and severe dehydration. Water provision is especially important for calves fed an accelerated milk replacer program to ensure proper hydration.

Bacteria: Coliform bacteria like E. Coli and salmonella may be present in poor-quality water or water contaminated by feces and can quickly and exponentially increase to dangerous levels in a calf if consumed. In both cases, calves may suffer from severe dehydration and diarrhea. Salmonella may also result in pneumonia and septicemia in infected animals. Water with high iron content is at an increased risk of salmonella contamination.

Minerals: Calves are more sensitive to elevated mineral levels than adult cattle, making excessive mineral concentrations in drinking water a particular concern. Upper concentrations and maximum tolerable concentrations of minerals for dairy cattle are shown in Table 1 (below). Minerals of particular concern when in high concentrations include cobalt, copper, iron, hydrogen sulfide, manganese and sulfur.

Take-home messages

  • Ensure calves are consistently provided with clean, fresh, and readily available water.
  • Keep water buckets clean and free of contamination from starter feed and feces.
  • Know the least expensive and most efficient method available to modify mineral and microbial concentration of water offered to calves.
  • Check your water quality frequently. At minimum, water fed to calves should be tested annually.

Ellan Dufour is a dairy research nutritionist with Hubbard Feeds.Source: https://www.progressivedairy.com/topics/calves-heifers/why-high-quality-water-matters-for-calf-success

 

 

To download a pdf version of this article, please click here

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Video

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June 25  |  antibiotics, Beef, crops, Dairy, Farm, farmers, farms, food safety, Immune System, Livestock, Nutrition, Poultry, Research, safe drinking water  |   Webmaster

We invite you to view our short 3 minute presentation to introduce you to Puroxi Pure Water Global Inc. ~ an international company recognized as a leader in Water Treatment for farms, crops, residential, municipal, commercial applications.

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A Tribute to Dairy Farmers

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April 23  |  Dairy, Editorial, Farm, farmers, farms, Opinion  |   Webmaster

This page is dedicated to Dairy Farmers as a tribute and acknowledgement for their hard work, dedication, and care.  We admire and respect all farm operators, especially family operations which take pride in providing us all with safe, nutritional food.

While Puroxi Pure Water Global has expanded its reach with new products, systems, throughout international markets, we will always have a special fondness for farm operators, particularly dairy farmers.  This hardy savvy group was the first to see the benefits of our product and appreciate the results.

Dairy farmers work hard every day to bring you and your family fresh, great tasting, wholesome milk products.  Almost all dairies are family-owned, and as active members of their communities, farm families take pride in feeding our country and maintaining natural resources.  That means preserving the land where they live and work, protecting the air and water they share with neighbors, and providing the best care for their cows—the lifeblood of their business.

Read more at www.dairyfarming.org

dairy farmer

Some Dairy Facts:

• Average number of cows in milking herd: 70

• Canada has 12,529 dairy farms with almost 1 million cows

• Canadian dairy farmers sell an average of 7.31 billion litres of milk annually to processors

• Three main processors process approximately 80% of the milk produced in Canada

• There are approximately 450 milk processors in Canada

• 700 kinds of cheese are made in Canada

• Sales of milk and dairy products contribute $10 billion to the Canadian economy

• Ontario’s milk production in 2012 was 2.6 billion litres of milk

• The farm gate value of milk from Ontario’s dairy farms is about $1.9 billion annually and  accounts for about 19 per cent of the province’s agricultural production

• Licensed dairy farms in Ontario as of December 2012: 4,100

• Average age of Canadian dairy farmers: 47

• Number of dairy cows in Ontario in 2012: 315,000 milking cows plus 173,000 heifers over one year old.

~ Facts courtesy of Dairy Farmers of Ontario

Read more about dairy families here:

http://www.prairiefarms.com/about-families-helping-families.aspx 

Following are some other links to information, fact sheets, videos and more, to help you understand a dairy farmer’s life & perspective …

Watch the real life stories of the dairy farmers behind 100% Canadian milk

Life on the Farm

Dairy Farmers of Canada

So God Made a Dairy Farmer

Dairy Farmers of Canada

Ask a Dairy Farmer

Myths vs. Facts

Dairy Nutrition Facts

2014 Milk Calendar 


Farmers’ Voice is a blog that gives Canadian dairy farmers a place to share their stories and talk about life on a dairy farm, in their own words. Written by dairy farmers who provide milk that is among the best in the world, Farmers’ Voice offers an insider perspective on subjects that matter to farmers.  See http://www.dairyfarmers.ca/farmers-voice/

 

 

 

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It’s all about the Drought!

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August 26  |  crops, Dairy, Editorial, Farm, Latest News, Livestock, Newsletters, Opinion  |   Webmaster

Unless we’ve been in a cave or in outer space for the past few weeks, we are all aware of the severe drought that has been plaguing the Midwest.  Actually, you can see its effects from space:

 http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-agriculture/us-drought-so-bad-nasa-can-see-it-space.html

This is the worst drought since 1988 and may go on record for causing the worst economic and social effects since the infamous 1930s “Dustbowl”.  It may take years to recover as a nation, but many small & medium size farms may not survive it.

The USDA is issuing weekly updates …

http://blogs.usda.gov/2012/08/24/agricultural-weather-and-drought-update-%e2%80%93-82412/

http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=DISASTER_ASSISTANCE

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

It’s estimated that this current drought is affecting over 68% of farmland and over 80% of essential crops in those areas, especially corn, hay, soya beans, etc.  And the effects will be felt across the nation with rising food prices and a strained federal budget to try and offset some of the losses.  Thank God for crop insurance!  Payouts from this year’s drought are expected to set record levels.  Unfortunately, livestock producers and dairy farmers have no such safety net.  Various government levels have tried to open up reserve land for grazing, water-sharing programs, meat buying programs, etc. but it is a drop in the bucket.  Clean water and grazing lands are becoming scarce and feed corn and hay have doubled in price since 2010.

While the debate rages on about whether global warming is the cause or whether this is just one of earth’s cycles of change and the while the policy makers on Capitol Hill bicker about their partisan lobby interests, farmers and ranchers struggle to survive, waiting for the much anticipated Farm Bill to finally become law.  It may be too late or not enough for some.   These dedicated, hearty individuals are used to struggle and adversity and being dependent on Mother Nature.   But they don’t like to depend on any level government.  Emergency drought legislation would surely help right now.

Meanwhile, more and more farmers and ranchers are taking to the internet and social media to stay connected, updated, and to network with others, sharing stories, ideas, and recommendations.  In fact, they have their own hashtag on Twitter: #drought12.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/08/24/159999270/farmers-waiting-out-the-drought-tune-into-twitter

Yes, this has been and will continue to be a very tough year for those dear folks.  Next to oxygen and water, they are responsible for the most important ingredient for our life – FOOD!  We are grateful for their dedication, hard work and pioneer spirit and are proud to be a part of their operations.

Let’s all offer them whatever support we can and pray for them.

 

Following are some links of interest to this ongoing story.  There are many more.

 

http://cropwatch.unl.edu/croprss/-/journal_content/56/1841/4969212?

http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/24/us/drought-missouri-dairy-farmers/index.html

http://www.agprofessional.com/news/Farmers-persevering-through-drought-167350075.html

http://farmprogress.com/customPage.aspx?p=382

http://science.time.com/2012/07/18/how-the-drought-of-2012-will-make-your-food-more-expensive/

http://www.businessinsider.com/photos-of-drought-devastating-american-farmland-2012-7?op=1

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/science/topics/drought/index.html

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/08/23/f-drought-climate-change.html

http://www.fb.org/

 

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Dairy Farmers left out in the heat with no assistance from govt.

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August 26  |  crops, Dairy, Editorial, Farm, Latest News, Livestock, Opinion  |   Webmaster

“Where’s the Beef?”

Dairy Farmers left to fend for themselves while partisan politics delay the Farm Bill.

No emergency drought assistance forthcoming.

 

The drought pushed fifth-generation dairy farmer Mark Argall out of the business    photo by Brandon Ancil/CNN

 

Small and medium sized dairy farms are barely hanging on, while some are selling off parts of their herd and others unwillingly going out of business, while Capitol Hill drags it feet in passing the omnibus Farm Bill.

The Obama administration earlier this month announced emergency drought assistance that included low-interest emergency loans; a federal buy-up of meat from livestock producers; and the opening up of some protected lands for livestock grazing.

None of those efforts are targeted at dairy farmers, however, dairy advocates say.

Farmers in southern Missouri are selling of dairy cows because their fields have dried up. photo by Brandon Ancil / CNN

 

Missouri’s governor, meanwhile, created a cost-share program to help farmers get access to water for their cattle, but McCallister said that’s more of a Band-Aid than a real solution.

Michael Scuse, under-secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said dairy farmers have not been offered enough of a safety net because Congress has not finalized an omnibus piece of legislation called the Farm Bill.

“Had we had a Farm Bill passed by now, there’s a very good chance we could offer some additional assistance” to dairy farmers who are struggling because of the drought, he said.

Several programs that deal with emergency assistance for livestock owners expired in September 2011; and an insurance program for livestock producers, which he said “never had adequate funding,” will be cut further in September and eliminated by October 1 unless new legislation is passed, he said.

 

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How much do you know about Milk?

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June 30  |  Dairy, News, Nutrition  |   Webmaster

Some very interesting facts about milk.  It’s been around for so long that we tend to take it all for granted.  The following link is a very informative infographic from the Dairy Council of California.

Thanks to Ellen, who posted it on her blog – 

http://www.durrerce.blogspot.fr/2012/06/how-much-do-you-know-about-milk.html

 

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Milk

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June 30  |  Dairy, News, Research  |   Webmaster

Following is a presentation from the Dairy Council of California.  It’s an excellent source of information about milk; one of our most precious commodites.  Enjoy!

Milk_program_2012.pdf

 

 

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Alternative to Antibiotics

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June 30  |  antibiotics, Case Studies, Dairy, Farm, food safety, Livestock, News, Nutrition  |   Webmaster

In an ongoing effort to reduce the dependence and amount of antibiotics used in farming, USDA scientists at College Station, TX have discovered that providing sodium chlorate in the drinking water or feed of livestock will reduce the intestinal concentrations of bacteria harmful to humans.

You can read a summary of the report here:  http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/06/usda-makes-progress-on-alternatives-to-antibiotics/

 

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