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Water testing done free of charge at extension centers, offices

BROOKINGS, SD – South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension is offering on-site livestock water testing service at all SDSU Extension Regional Extension Centers and several SDSU Extension County Offices throughout the state.

“It is critical to monitor livestock water quality, because poor quality water can have a negative effect on growth, reproduction and general productivity of the animal,” says Robin Salverson, SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist. “In some cases, death could occur within days or hours after consumption of contaminated waters or water deprivation.”

Water samples can be taken to one of the sites listed below and must be collected in a clean, plastic or glass container. This includes water or pop bottles, jelly jars, etc.

A quick test is conducted free of charge with an electro-conductivity (EC) meter to determine total salts in the water. After consultation with an SDSU Extension field or state specialist, Salverson says additional laboratory testing may be suggested but will be at the cost of the producer.

“The appearance of water can be deceiving, and the clearest of water can be the worst,” she says. “Additionally, some water sources, regardless if it has been dry or wet, can be high in total salts. Therefore, continuous monitoring of water quality and quantity is important to maintain a productive livestock program.”

Additional information on livestock water quality can be found at extension.sdstate.edu or by contacting Salverson at 605-374-4177 or [email protected].

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