Drive your cows to drink

Drive your cows to drink

22 April 2019

A lack of water in a cow’s diet can result in reduced milk yield, loss of body condition, loss of appetite and, in extreme cases, severe dehydration.

Water is an essential component of the animal’s diet and impacts their growth and development. There is a direct correlation between water intake and the production of milk and meat. Water maintains key bodily functions, helping eliminate the waste products of digestion and metabolism, and regulating blood osmotic pressure.

To give you an idea of the importance of adequate, accessible, palatable drinking water, grazing animals drink between two to three times the volume of the food they eat each day. Conversely, sick animals tend to eat less and drink more to compensate against dehydration, elevated body temperature or stress.

Farmers in many parts of the country are now dosing magnesium to assist with the control of hypomagnesaemia (grass staggers). However, cows dislike the bitter taste of magnesium and often their water intake is reduced unless something is added to stock drinking water to overcome this unpalatability.

Caramillo is a ‘sweetener’ that encourages cows to accept their medication and drink their water. It is both a masking and flavouring agent which disguises the smell as well as the taste of unpleasant water. It encourages cows to drink and therefore maintain water intake for health and production. Keeping their water intake up also ensures cows receive the right level of magnesium every day.

Inline water-dispensers like the Dosatron can be easily installed and operated on most farms. They provide a mechanism for farmers to correct trace element deficiencies as well as disguising unpalatable water that may contain contaminants like iron and manganese or ‘hard’ water - all of which can reduce an animal’s daily water intake. It is important to establish an overall plan when installing an inline dispenser or drenching system so that flavour-enhancing agents like Caramillo are incorporated into the medication being dosed to the herd.

The recommended dose is 20 to 40 millilitres (mL) of Caramillo per kilogram (kg) of magnesium used.

For more information on Caramillo, talk to your local Farm Source TSR or visit your local Farm Source store.

Article supplied by Bell-Booth