Making sure cattle get enough water

Livestock ponds are running low during this hot and dry summer

The thermometer is reaching into the triple digits and m
any parts of the Tri-State area
haven't seen any measurable rain for the past couple of months.

That combination is taking its toll on area farms.

Besides corn and soybeans that are beginning to show signs of heat stress, livestock is also being affected by the heat.

At a farm near Perry, Illinois,
even though the temperature is at 100 degrees by 11 a.m., these cattle know enough to get out of the direct sun and into the shade. But trying to get them water is another challenge for producers who are raising cattle.


Farmers are having to haul water if ponds are low and creeks are running dry. Keeping good water quality in front of those cattle is good to mitigating heat stress," Travis Meteer said. He is with the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension.

Meteer said

he's talked with several area producers about the dry conditions and lack of rain and h
e said
right now, many farmers are hauling water and sometimes it's 1000 gallons or more a week depending on the size of the herd. And for some of those small farm ponds that cattle use to drink from and are now about to dry up?


extreme situations there's also blue/green algae in some ponds and that can be a toxic substance to cattle. So we really want to offer them a good water source. If you do see your ponds getting low, it's time to intervene and haul some water," Meteer said.

He went on to say that
producers haven't made that next step yet deciding whether or not to sell off their herds because of the drought-like conditions. But he says some are resorting to feeding hay to the cattle. Hay that's recently been baled - with the idea that it was to feed the cattle herds this winter. So for now, Meteer hopes the producers are trying to stay ahead of the game and get through this heat and the summer season.

A couple of side notes to this story.

A cow that's nursing a calf can drink up to 27 gallons of water a day and at the Orr Ag Center near Perry, Illinois has received less then two inches of rain since May first.