Grit

Ensuring Water for Livestock

During a drought, a lack of drinking water is often a bigger problem for livestock than a lack of forage. Livestock are removed from pastures with adequate feed left in them because there’s no drinking water after the pond or stream dries up. Ensuring reliable, adequate drinking water can help guarantee that it’s always possible to utilize forage when it’s available.

There’s also value in strategically distributing water sources throughout a pasture. Research trials performed by Jim Gerrish in Missouri indicate that cattle poorly utilize grazing areas that are more than 900 feet from water. Having only a single water source in a pasture tends to concentrate grazing in areas near the water source, resulting in overgrazing close to water and unutilized feed away from water. This is often aggravated by the fact that shade trees usually grow near water, and by the common practice among ranchers of putting salt sources close to water.

Having multiple water sources around a pasture can greatly improve grazing distribution so that grazing pressure is uniform. You can dramatically improve pasture performance by preventing both overgrazing and undergrazing. The first step towards this

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