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Importance of Water-Dairy Calves

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July 23  |  Dairy, Farm, Farmers, 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  |  crops, Dairy, Farm, Farmers, food safety, Immune System, Livestock, Nutrition, Pork, Poultry, 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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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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Pray for Farmers

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

It might be a little late to pray for rain to save this year’s harvest, but not too late to pray for farmers and ranchers who are hurt by the lack of it. 

The American Farm Bureau Federation asked Americans to join them in a National Day of Prayer on Thursday, Aug. 23, for all those being affected by the drought. 

 

Let’s all continue to pray for those dedicated, hard-working people that grow our food and please spread the word.

“The farmer’s is a sacred calling because he is a collaborator with God in the work of His creation. … The farmer’s calling is one that must command great respect. Much knowledge and skill are required to manage well the farmstead with its land and fences, barns and granaries, tools, and machinery. Farming is among the greatest of human arts. The farmer must be an artisan and a craftsman, a capitalist, financier, manager, worker; a producer and a seller. He must know soil and seed, poultry and cattle; he must know when to till the soil, cultivate his fields, and harvest his crops. In the presence of his Lord the farmer should recall all this, not in a spirit of vainglory or pride, but in grateful appreciation of the calling that God gave him as a tiller of the soil. Praise and thanksgiving should rise in his heart as he reflects on the high regard the Lord has showered upon him and his work.”

(From Partnership with God, by the Most Reverend Aloisius J. Muench.)

 

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Let’s acknowledge Farmers

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July 23  |  Editorial, Farm, Latest News, Livestock, Newsletters, Opinion  |   Webmaster

Take a Moment to Appreciate Farmers and Ranchers:

We all take the supply and safety of our food for granted, without really thinking of how it got to our grocers.

Please take a moment to view these videos to gain a true appreciation for all those dedicated, hard-working folks who take their responsibilities seriously to keep us fed, well-nourished, and healthy.

YouTube

http://youtu.be/121obbAdQtM      

http://youtu.be/Kg_T3cZm5Ms    

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=uqYTMjintSA     

http://youtu.be/R4rzCJehqn4

 

And here are some interviews and insights from local ranchers and farmers:

http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2012/07/16/what-every-farmer-wants-to-hear-go-usa/?hpt=ea_r2

http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2012/07/03/no-bull-start-a-conversation-with-a-farmer/

 

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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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Drought in U.S.

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June 30  |  crops, Farm, Latest News, Livestock, Research  |   Webmaster

Extreme temperatures and lack of adequate rainfall are causing the drought situation to worsen throughout the the western states. 

Here is an overview of the past 6 weeks:

U.S. Drought Monitor

http://www.oxyblast.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Drough-monitor-6_week.gif

You can also read more about this here:   http://www.agweb.com/article/14_states_that_need_a_drink/

 

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Antibiotic Farm Use

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June 30  |  antibiotics, Case Studies, Editorial, Farm, food safety, Immune System, Livestock, News, Nutrition, safe drinking water  |   Webmaster

The use and/or overuse of antibiotics on farms continues to generate controversy.  While opposite sides continue to argue their respective positions, we feel that it’s important to maintain a level-headed position and research and examine all of the facts. 

Without a doubt, antibiotics have improved the quality of life for all of us, including our livestock and food sources.   Can you imagine a world without anitbiotics?  Scary indeed!

We strongly agree with the agricultural community that a responsible antibiotic regimen is essential to maintaining a safe, healthy and efficient operation.  However, it’s also common knowledge that antibiotic use has surged during the past decade, which has many experts worried that we are creating a dangerous level of resistance to bacteria and viruses.

The prestigious journal Nature this week called for reining in the use of antibiotics in agriculture, adding to the growing chorus of scientists and public health advocates seeking reforms.  The editorial noted that the overuse of antibiotics in livestock raising is a global issue, in part because pathogens do not respect international borders — “As long as any one country pumps its pigs and poultry full of drugs, everyone is at risk.”

Following are links to the report and comments.

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/06/journal-nature-farmers-should-rein-in-antibiotic-use-worldwide/

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v486/n7404/full/486440a.html

While the debate rages on, and various special interest groups lobby all levels of government, please don’t blame the farmers! They are all working hard to ensure that we all have safe, healthy food to feed our families, and also incurring a lot of extra expense in doing so. 

We would like to remind you that one of the many benefits of using our Oxy Blast products is the reduced dependency on antibiotics.  Why?  Because they help antibiotics work more effectively and efficiently!  This has proven to be an economical option for many of our clients.

We invite you to watch our short movie presentation at www.oxyblast.org/movie, introducing our products and services.

 

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