November 20, 2020 - A Whole Lot of Water Goes Into Milk


Friday, November 20, 2020 - Water is important for most species’ survival. Dairy cows, in particular, require large quantities to produce the creamy white liquid for which they are famous. It is important for dairy producers to provide plenty of water within a convenient location to keep their herd well hydrated.  Here are some interesting facts about water and cows.

  • Cows need to consume between 30 and 50 gallons of water per day — more than 415 pounds of water every day.
  • It takes up to 4.5 pounds of water to make just 1 pound of milk, and cows produce, on average, 70 pounds, or 8 gallons of milk each day, which is equal to about 128 glasses.
  • Milk is 87 percent water, and without sufficient water intake, a cow’s milk yield will suffer.
  • Dairy cows rely on saliva and other fluids to assist them in digesting feedstuffs. If they don’t get enough water it starts a chain reaction—digestion, feed intake and energy decrease. 
  • Cows usually drink the most after eating and after being milked. Ideally, the trough will be near a feed bunk so it’s easy for cows to drink after eating.
  • Three to five inches of water space per cow is usually adequate for multiple cows to drink at the same time. The height of the trough should be 2 to 3 feet from the ground. 
  • One waterer per 20 cows will help ensure cows stay hydrated. The waterers should hold at least 5 gallons at time, with a refill rate of at least 2.5 gallons per minute to keep the fresh, clean water flowing. So while it may be hard to monitor each cow’s water intake, providing enough fresh water and space for the entire herd usually gets the job done.

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