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Free livestock water test for farmers

Free livestock water test for farmers

By Scout Nelson

Livestock producers in South Dakota can now safeguard their animals' health through a free water testing program offered by SDSU Extension. This initiative aims to empower farmers and ranchers by providing a quick and easy way to monitor the quality of their livestock's water supply.

“Even clear water can be unsafe for livestock,” explains Robin Salverson, SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist. Contaminated water can negatively impact growth, reproduction, and even lead to death in severe cases.

The importance of proactive water quality management cannot be overstated. Regular testing allows producers to identify potential problems before they affect animal health. This program empowers them to make informed decisions about grazing management and water source utilization.

The testing process is simple and convenient. Producers can bring water samples to any of the eight regional centers, or 26 county offices located throughout South Dakota. Samples should be collected in clean, sanitized plastic or glass containers.

A free on-site test using an electro-conductivity (EC) meter measures the total salt content of the water. Based on the results, SDSU Extension specialists can provide guidance and recommendations. In some cases, further laboratory analysis may be suggested for a more comprehensive assessment.

“The free EC meter test serves as a valuable starting point,” says Salverson. “It's a cost-effective way to gain initial insights into water quality.” Additional testing allows for a deeper analysis of potential contaminants like nitrates, bacteria, and minerals.

By participating in this program, South Dakota livestock producers can take a proactive approach to safeguarding the health and well-being of their animals. Regular water quality monitoring promotes optimal livestock performance and productivity, contributing to their agricultural operations' success.

Photo Credit: south-dakota-state-university

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Categories: South Dakota, Business, Livestock

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