The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


June 28, 2014

Water quality important for livestock

ENID, Okla. — Thankfully, recent rains have replenished nearby ponds and provided some new forage growth for the beef herds in this area of the state.

Even though many areas have been blessed with ample rain this past month, we must not brush aside issues resulting from the evident drought.

Water is an essential nutrient for livestock second only to oxygen. Adequate water intake is extremely important to maximize performance in cattle. However, water often does not receive the necessary attention to ensure we are providing the sufficient quantity and quality water for our livestock. During dry conditions, it is important to keep in mind that when the amount of water in a pond is decreasing, there is a good chance the quality of water could be compromised as well. Sometimes, it’s the things we can’t see visually that can be equally — if not more — dangerous to our livestock.

In the next two weeks, we will be focusing on the importance of water quality for livestock, specifically focusing on the beef herd. In the following paragraphs, I have listed a number of common water related issues that producers should be aware of as they care for their beef herds this summer.


Depending on other sulfur sources within the diet, elevated levels of sulfates in water can affect cattle in three ways: Cause reduced water and therefore reduced feed intake; cause sulfur toxicity due to ingestion of high levels of sulfur; and induce trace mineral deficiencies.

The recommended level of sulfur in cattle diets is 0.15 percent with maximum tolerance at 0.40 percent. Some grain byproducts (dried distillers’ grains, corn gluten feed) and molasses-based liquid feed supplements can greatly contribute to overall sulfur in the diet. Compounded with elevated sulfates in water, dietary sulfur could be well above dietary and causing reductions in performance.

Polioencephalomacia (PEM) is a metabolic/neurological condition that occurs when high levels of dietary sulfur are ingested. Symptoms of PEM include lethargy, reduced feed intake, blindness, muscle tremors, lack of coordination, convulsions and death.

Text Only
  • Trent Milacek web.jpg Despite poor harvest, wheat price falls

    I grew up and currently reside on our family farm southwest of Waukomis.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Master Gardener logocmyk.jpg Gardeners share their favorites

    Annuals only last one season, but they are important because of the great variety of flowers that keep the garden colorful throughout the summer.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Conservation workshop set

    The workshop will be 6 p.m. at the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service Center, 316 E. Oxford.

    July 26, 2014

  • Jeff Bedwell Consider safety of forage beforehand

    Drought conditions of the past three to four years and in particular the past eight months had hay/forage inventories at critically low levels. The most recent period ranked as the third-driest period in recorded history. Not unlike the farmers and ranchers of other times of drought, ag producers now have been very resourceful to not only replace hay supplies that have dwindled but also add much-needed revenue to farm income.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Right to Farm web 1.jpg Ag industry seeks right to farm

    The emerging battle could have lasting repercussions for the nation’s food supply and for the millions of people worldwide who depend on U.S. agricultural exports. It’s also possible the right-to-farm idea could sputter as a merely symbolic gesture that carries little practical effect beyond driving up voter turnout in local elections.

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • farm - Burlington FFA web.jpg Burlington students attend camp

    More than 1,600 FFA members from 289 Oklahoma FFA chapters attended one of four three and one-half day sessions from June 29-July 12.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • farm - Oklahoma's Dirty Dozen poster 150dpi_W.jpg Poster targets invasive plants

    They all have more than four letters, but they are certainly bad words in the state of Oklahoma.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • farm - Rick Nelson web.jpg Simple steps can prevent fungus infection

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Help plants survive the summer heat

    The July hot weather has arrived, and Oklahoma State University has some suggestions for helping with our gardening needs this month.

    July 12, 2014

  • farm - 4-H_W_W.jpg State 4-H honors volunteers

    A group of dedicated parents and volunteers with Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development Program gathered recently in Stillwater for learning, sharing of ideas and recognition of dedication to Oklahoma’s youth.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads