21 May 2014

How Water Quality Affects Your Livestock

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Think humans are the only creatures affected by the quality of our drinking water? Think again!

An ongoing study in the state of New York is exploring possible links between the water that dairy cows drink, and their overall milk production. Researchers want to learn if there is any effect on the quality and/or quantity of milk produced, and how available water supplies affect the animals’ overall health. Scientists there were inspired by a similar project compiled in Pennsylvania, which found that dairy farms dealing with water quality issues saw a 10% decline in milk production on average.

 

Since agriculture is such a large and important industry in the state of Indiana, this study really gets us thinking about water quality and its vital role for farmers, livestock, and crops. The following are some topics that folks with farms of all sizes should consider, learn about, and share with each other.

 

Water Conservation

As global populations continue to grow, the scarcity of water will be an ever-increasing reality for people around the world. Water shortages from natural and man-made activities mean uncertainty for future agriculture production. Farmers must continue to find efficient and effective ways to utilize available sources of water from rain and irrigation. Often times, that will mean following the old philosophy of doing more with less.

 

Reducing Pollution

Conserving water is critical to long-term agricultural management and sustainability, but it doesn’t make much of a difference if the water we do have is polluted. Thankfully, more and more farmers are adopting new technologies and strategies for reducing pollution, and are working hard to keep contaminants like animal waste, nitrogen, and phosphorus out of water supplies, thus improving water quality. Cover crops, updated tilling techniques, and innovations in fertilizers and pesticides are just a few of the ways folks associated with the Ag industry are protecting essential water supplies.

 

Reducing Erosion

In order to grow healthy, commercially viable crops, farmers need fertile soil. Unfortunately, popular crops like soybeans, corn, and wheat cause major erosion. What’s worse, soil degradation creates a ripple effect. In places where vegetation struggles to grow, soil remains loose and is easily blown or washed away into waterways, where it causes sedimentation and countless other problems to marine habitats. Erosion can also lead to an increased risk of flooding. While farmers struggle to grow crops on battered soil, they are far from the only ones affected by erosion.

 

Improving Knowledge

Watersheds often cover thousands of acres and supply countless agricultural operations in the areas with life-giving fresh water. Members of these communities always benefit from education. Residents should be proactive with their concerns, and stay informed on the issues so that they may share these topics with fellow neighbors and farmers. Groups have much more power to enact changes and improvements, so it makes sense to unite in a common effort to improve water quality and educate others about how to do so.

 

Whether you live in the city or have a rural address, rely on municipal water or a private well for drinking and irrigation, C&J Well Company can help make your water supplies healthier and more efficient. From well digging and maintenance, to water softeners and other treatment solutions, our team has a product or service designed for you. Talk to us today about how we can improve the water you rely on for use at home and for work.

 

Link to news article on NY study: http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/article/20140519/NEWS03/705199959