- Animal Products: dairy
- Animal Production: watering systems
- Education and Training: demonstration, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
Figures on dietary watering needs for lactating dairy cattle appears to be based upon either confinement conditions or at best where pasture supplies only a token amount of animal's ration. Such recommendations may not be transferable to dairy operations which rely heavily on management intensive grazing (MIG) systems to provide the bulk of their dry matter intake. Where pasture forage is well managed to consistently maintain a highly succulent sward, a substantial volume of plant derived water should be consumed in the process of grazing. This source of dietary water, in addition to dew which may form at times on the exterior of the topgrowth, may substantially reduce the quality of water needed out on pasture to balance out the animals daily requirements. The goal of this project is to ascertain actual water consumption at the water trough and estimate approximate contributions of water from pasture forage.