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ARS Home » Plains Area » Miles City, Montana » Livestock and Range Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #265444

Title: Range Cattle Winter Water Consumption in Northern Great Plains

item Petersen, Mark
item Muscha, Jennifer - Boyle
item MULLINIKS, J - New Mexico State University
item Roberts, Andrew - Andy

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/16/2011
Publication Date: 6/1/2011
Citation: Petersen, M.K., Muscha, J.M., Mulliniks, J.T., Roberts, A.J. 2011. Range Cattle Winter Water Consumption in Northern Great Plains. 2011 ASAS Western Section Meeting, Miles City, MT, Meeting Abstract. #37 on CD.

Interpretive Summary: abstract only

Technical Abstract: Water consumption and DMI may interact to alter range cow productivity. Furthermore, environmental conditions and water temperature may influence water consumption. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine influences of water and air temperature on quantity and pattern of water intake. Six paddocks (average 320 ha) were grazed from December through February in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 by 79 pregnant range cows at USDA-ARS Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory in Miles City, MT. Three paddocks provided cold (8.2 ± 0.4°C) and three warm (31.1 ± 1.3°C) stock water delivered in Ritchie© waters. Warm water drinkers were heated by a Rheem outdoor tankless propane water heater. Water intake/paddock was measured daily (~ 0830) by an electronic water flow meter located anterior to the outlet valve. Days were categorized by daily high temperature: warm (> -3º C), cool (-9.5º to -3º C), and cold (< -9.5ºC). Water temperature, daily high temperature, yr, and their interactions were evaluated and analyzed as a 2 × 3 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments. Cows in warm water paddocks consumed more water than cows provided cold water (P < 0.001; 27.7 and 19.5 ± 1.0 L/d for cows drinking warm and cold water, respectively). Treatment × water temperature × daily high temperature interactions (P < 0.001) were observed for number of trips to water and time at water per day (recorded by motion activated cameras). In yr 1, cows made more trips to water on cold and cool days when provided warm water than when provided cold water. On warm days in yr 1, cows provided cold water made more trips per day than cows provided warm water. In yr 2, cows provided warm water made more trips/day on cool and warm days than cows consuming cold water, with no difference in number of trips per day on cold days. In cold days in yr 1 and warm days in yr 2, cows provided warm water came to water later in the day than cows consuming cold water. Percent of cows accessing drinkers each day was not influenced by water temperature (P = 0.56; 65 and 68 ± 3% for cold and warm water, respectively). Results from this study shows that daily water intake is increased when heated water is provided to cows grazing winter range.