The Alltech Feeding Times Issue 34 - Summer 2021 Summer 2021 - Page 22

WATER QUALITY AND CONCERNS FOR BEEF CATTLE

Water is the most critical nutrient but is often overlooked for its importance and contribution to animal nutrition . Cattle require an adequate , available supply of fresh water to enable the metabolic processes in their bodies . Understanding issues influencing water quality and intake is vital to beef herd nutrition and management . An important task is to have water tested to make informed nutrition decisions for the cattle under your care .
Sample water for laboratory analysis using a clean plastic container . The container then needs to be rinsed repeatedly with the water that is to be tested . Samples must come from the site of discharge into the tank or trough and should not be collected by dipping into the tank directly . This helps to avoid contamination by feed , saliva or other pollutants . Exceptions to this procedure would be if sampling a stock dam , stream or pond .
Water quality and consumption
Water quality can affect how much is consumed and the overall health of the herd . Odors or tastes can influence water intake , which will also impact feed intake , weight gain , reproduction and health . Many tastes and odors come from characteristics that can be evaluated in a simple water test . The amount of water consumed varies from one animal to the next . Age , stage of production , type of ration and weather all contribute to how much water is needed and consumed .
The components typically evaluated in a water quality analysis include :
• Physical and chemical properties
• The concentration of macro- and micro-minerals
• The presence of toxic compounds
• Microbial contamination
These factors can affect the palatability of drinking water and even the animal ’ s digestive and physiological functions .
Is the water provided clean ? This might be an elementary question , but it is as essential for water quality as anything else . The common adage comes to mind : “ If you wouldn ’ t drink it , why make your animals drink it ?” This concept reinforces the importance of supplying cattle with a clean source of water . Cleaning water troughs and tanks at regular intervals to avoid the build-up of impurities or the growth of organisms will encourage consumption and keep issues associated with unclean water at bay . Excessive amounts of minerals dissolved in the water can be detrimental and can create an opportunity for mineral antagonism . Antagonists bind with free trace elements , preventing their absorption and leading to secondary deficiencies . Trace minerals provided in an organic form are more bioavailable to the animal and less apt to interact with antagonists .
Salinity
Salinity , often referred to as total dissolved solids ( TDS ), is a measure of the total salts suspended in the water . High TDS levels are an indicator of poor-quality water .
12 THE FEEDING TIMES
YOUR CHECKLIST FOR A GREAT YEAR Use Alltech Crop Science beginning early in the season to secure optimal yields from your commodity and forage crops. With commodity prices climbing, there’s no better time to claim every last bushel. When it comes to micronutrients, one of the main players to consider is boron. This nutrient participates in the formation of the polynic tube, the firmness of the peel of the fruits, the transport of carbohydrates and greater leaf growth. The same can be said for copper, manganese, zinc, chlorine and iron. These nutrients also participate in the metabolism of photosynthetic activity. The picture above shows a visual representation of the effects that these elements can have on plant production. Of the pictured soybean crops, those provided with the necessary macro- and micronutrients, through the use of Alltech Crop Science products, have a notably greener and more robust appearance. Next, we need to think about the action of the enzyme reductase nitrate, which plays a role in amino acid production. Amino acids act as a natural chelate or complex. They bind to minerals and other molecules and facilitate increased absorption within the plant. To help promote this action as much as possible, molybdenum is fundamental. This trace mineral also contributes to the germination of pollen grains and helps to optimize fruit maturation and tissue resistance. Nickel is also crucial for similar reasons. It is an essential catalyst for numerous enzymatic activities related to carbon and nitrogen metabolism. In secondary metabolism, a deficiency or imbalance of any of these elements will trigger negative processes. Some elements, such as copper, manganese and zinc, are directly related to the activity of antioxidant compounds. These compounds act by reducing reactive oxygen species. The same elements also contribute to better lignification of tissues and lead to metabolic activities related to the defense system of the plant. 22 A deficiency or imbalance of the required nutrients will restrict the growth and productivity processes of plants. There will also be adverse effects on the plant’s ability to defend itself, as it will become less resistant to diseases and pests. It is, then, essential to provide and improve the efficient absorption of the specific and balanced quantity of nutrients required at each of the crop’s phenological stages. Alltech Crop Science offers a range of products with amino acid complexing technology that allows for increased nutrient absorption efficiency, both for root and foliar application. These products will enable you to better meet your plants’ requirements and achieve higher crop quality and productivity levels. SOIL-SET® for healthy roots and soil balance NATURE’S BASICS® 2X or GRAIN-SET® to boost quality and yields Highly bioavailable LIQUI-PLEX® nutrients and amino acids to supply crop needs It is imperative to focus on the efficient supply of nutrients to plants, regardless of the crop, soil type and/or climatic conditions. Only when we address this issue can plants complete their production cycle adequately and aim for a more significant accumulation of assimilates. Ultimately, this will allow plants to acheive a higher level of their productive potential. This will also result in greater final profitability for the producer. Marcos Revoredo is a technical manager for Alltech Crop Science, specializing in intensive fruit and vegetable crops. He works from Alltech’s base in Araucária, a municipality of the Brazilian state of Paraná. Marcos received his Ph.D. and master’s degree in vegetable production and bachelor’s degree in agronomics from Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho. THE FEEDING TIMES Don’t miss this opportunity! Contact an Alltech Crop Science specialist or email us at cropscience@alltech.com today to learn how we can make sure you and your customers are getting peak performance from your crops.