Not only are the forage and hay supplies affected by this dry weather, but water supplies for livestock remain a concern. In Southern and Southwest Arkansas many creeks and ponds are drying up quickly, leaving nothing more than mud or a dry creek bed. Many cattle producers are able to provide a fresh supply of water from county service. In the video above, I talk a bit about how I use stock tanks in some pastures.
In Texas, things are a different story. As this article from Texas AgriLife Extension explains, a supply of water in a stock tank or pond may not be sufficient. Cattle may actually suffer from too much water consumption when they reach a water supply, possibly causing death. As author Kay Ledbetter explains, cattle normall intake 5-8 gallons of water each day from forage consumption. It’s comparable to your taking a water jug to the hay field or any other work. However, without the supply of fresh forage growth, cattle are not receiving that water during grazing, tanking up when they reach water, and possibly consuming too much at one time for a dehydrated animal. Ledbetter goes on to dicuss more about the water situation in the article. I encourage you to read the whole thing.
Water and forage supplies in Arkansas may be short, but the situation in Texas reminds me there’s always someone in a worse situation. Praying for rainfall for all of the drought stricken areas.
How do you provide water to livestock? Ponds, creeks, stock tanks, automatic waterers?