The amount of water an animal requires will depend on a number of factors including:
- the class of animal
- the temperature and season (livestock consume more water in summer and during warmer weather)
- the feed on offer (stock will drink more on dry feed such as grains, hay and dead pasture than on feeds with higher water content)
- the quality of the water (water with higher salt levels will increase consumption)
Stock do best on water that is fresh, cool and clean. Water should be low in salt, low in organic matter, low in suspended clay and free of other toxic substances, such as blue-green algae.
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Stock water requirements litres/animal/day
|Stock type||Consumption (litres/animal/day)|
|Adult dry sheep||10||6|
|Ewes with lambs||14||10|
|Weaner (250–300 kg)||70||Up to 55|
|Adult Dry stock||112||Up to 80|
Salinity tolerance levels for stock water
|Type of Livestock||EC (µS/cm)||Mg/L (ppm)|
|Beef cattle||Production decline begins*||6,250||4,000|
|Lactating ewes and weaners||Production decline begins*||6,000||3,800|
|Dry mature sheep||Production decline begins*||9,300||6,000|
* Production decline begins = upper limit salt concentration for healthy growth.
** Maximum = maximum salt concentration that may be safe for limited periods.
- Check out Agriculture Victoria’s web page: How long will my dam water last?
- Find an accredited water testing facility National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA).
- Read more on Managing Farm Water Supplies on Agriculture Victoria web page.
- Check out Water Security information from Sheep Connect SA for resources on consumption rates and distribution systems plus farmers case studies.