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Water Consumption, Air and Water Temperature Issues Related to Portable Water Systems for Grazing Cattle

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  024052,  2002 ASAE Annual Meeting   . (doi: 10.13031/2013.12628) @2002
Authors:   José R. Bicudo, Richard S. Gates
Keywords:   Beef cattle, grazing, heat stress, water, water intake, water temperature

Continuous monitoring of water intake rates by grazing cattle was conducted from August to October 2001, and also in June and July 2002. The average daily water intake was about 5 L/1,000 kg LAW-hour, or about 35 L/day for a 300-kg steer. The ratio between the maximum hourly flow rate to the average hourly flow rate for the different monitoring periods varied between 6.22 and 7.67. This finding alone may have significant implications for the design of portable seasonal water systems used in rotational grazing. Water intake rates were found to be highly dependent on water and air temperature, as well as on THI. Cattle drank more water during the afternoon hours when both air and water temperature went up. Water intake rates at air or water temperatures above 30 oC were two to three times greater than intake rates at temperatures below 30 oC. Similar results were obtained for the THI effect on water intake rate. Giving cattle access to a pond resulted in lower water intake rates when both air and water temperatures were above 30 oC.

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