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How Much Water Do Livestock Need?  

Get water volume guidelines for livestock so you can assess and scale your facilities to maintain performance of your herd.
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Water is a key part of grazing livestock.  

Lack of water can reduce animal performance more quickly and severely than any other nutrient.  

This table from Roger Ingram, a farm advisor with the University of California, shows the amount of water per day different livestock require (see chart pdf below).  

“In cooler weather, below 75 degrees, water consumption will be less,” Ingram says. “But the last thing you want to do is run out of water on a hot day.”  

Ingram recommends estimating demand on the high side to avoid this problem.  

For example, if you have 10 beef cows with calves, the daily water requirement per cow is 20 gallons (10 lactating cows x 20 gallons per day = 200 gallons). And if water is turned off for two days, a rancher would need at least 500 gallons of water in storage (2 days X 200 = 400 + 100 gallons in case of delays with water being turned on again). 

Download Water Needs For Livestock chart. Also, in this video, Clyde Lane, professor, department of animal science at the University of Tennessee, talks about why water is important for beef cattle.


Resources & Case Studies

Water Needs For Livestock

Tailored Advice From Experts

Would you like more information on Trust in Beef topics from the experts?

Additional Resources

Watch NCBA Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP) winner profiles. See how the beef industry showcases its stewardship, conservation and business practices that work together on farms and ranches.

Blair Brothers Angus Ranch – South Dakota

Gracie Creek – Nebraska

Beatty Canyon Ranch – Colorado

JY Ferry & Son, Inc. – Utah

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