SDSU Extension offering livestock water testing across state

Source: Farm Progress. The original article is posted here.

SDSU Extension offering livestock water testing across state

SDSU Extension is offering on-site livestock water testing services across the state and encouraging producers to take advantage.

“It’s never too early to start testing your water,” said Robin Salverson, SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist. "Your animals' health should not be the indicator of water quality. Be proactive and test the water prior to turnout to protect yourself from loss in productivity or death."

Poor water quality can hurt livestock’s growth and reproduction, making it critical to monitor their water supply. Severely contaminated water can cause illness or death. Salverson said testing is the only way to be sure because even clear water can be of poor quality.

SDSU Extension offers water testing services at all eight regional centers and at 26 county offices across the state. Salverson said early tests are already showing high total salt contents.

Water samples can be taken to one of the SDSU Extension sites. Samples must be collected in a clean plastic or glass container, such as a sanitized water or pop bottle or jelly jar.

A quick 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 specialist, Salverson said additional laboratory testing may be suggested, but will be at the cost of the producer.

“Completing a free, quick test is a cheap insurance policy,” she said.

Salverson said there are many factors that determine water quality. South Dakota soils tend to be high in salt content, which can in turn raise the salt levels in dugouts, creeks and streams. Snowfall, rain, grazing management – everything contributes to water quality.

“Really consider and think about your grazing management and how that is influencing or impacting your water, and is that a good thing or bad thing,” Salverson said.

For more information, contact Robin Salverson , SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist.

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