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Water requirements for beef cattle

In current dry weather conditions water systems may come under pressure to meet herd demand, especially if temperatures are persistently high for a number of days. Niall Kerins, Teagasc Drystock Advisor, Kilrush Co Clare, has guidelines on how to meet the water requirements for beef cattle here

Often water requirements for beef cattle may be overlooked on farms. Cattle become stressed when water requirements are not fulfilled and as a consequence animal thrive and live weight gain suffer.  Water requirements are influenced depending on animal’s diet, live weight and weather temperatures.

Daily water requirements for cattle

Daily live weight gain for beef cattle on a high dry matter finishing diet can suffer immensely where water requirements are not fulfilled. Water requirements for finishing cattle increases as live weight gain increases too. Cattle can drink up to 15 litres of water/day per 100 kg’s of live weight. However, this can increase significantly in warm weather conditions.

The table below gives further information on daily water requirements:


Water trough size required

The size of the water trough is also a critical factor to consider. The rule of thumb on trough size is 1.5 gallons or 7 litres per livestock unit. In larger herds you may need to have two water troughs per paddocks to meet demand.

The table below outlines water trough size depending on herd size.

REMEMBER: Check water troughs daily. As a guide a suckler cow is 1 livestock unit and an animal 0-2 years can be classified as 0.6 livestock unit.

Teagasc Advisors are regular contibutors of articles here on Teagasc Daily. If you require any help or advice in this area contact your local Teagasc Advisory Office here: Advisory Regions.