Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Environmental Analysis
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Study Suggests Dairy Herd Water Quality Linked to Milk Production

Published: Thursday, May 23, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, May 23, 2013
Bookmark and Share
A recently completed study of water supplies on Pennsylvania dairy farms found that about a quarter of those tested had at least one water-quality issue.

And average milk production for these farms was about 10 percent lower than farms with good water quality.

Dairy farms rely on good quality water to ensure maximum milk production and herd health, according to study author Bryan Swistock, extension water resources specialist in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

"While most dairy farms routinely test their water supplies for bacteria, additional testing for salts, metals and other parameters that can affect herd performance is conducted less frequently," he said.
"In the fall of 2012, Penn State Extension offered free water testing for dairy farmers across Pennsylvania. The objective of the project was to increase awareness of various water-quality parameters that are not tested as often. These less-tested parameters may explain chronic herd performance issues."

More than 240 dairy farmers who expressed an interest in water quality received water test kits, and 174 water samples from 41 counties were returned to the Agricultural Analytical Services Laboratory at Penn State. That equates to a 72 percent participation rate.

The samples were analyzed for 13 common water-quality parameters that are part of the lab's basic livestock water-testing package.

Ninety-eight percent of the water samples came from private water wells or springs on the dairy farms. The farms in the study encompassed 51,000 acres and 18,000 cows with an average milk production level ranging from 20 to 90 pounds of milk per cow per day. Only six -- 3 percent --of the farms in the study had water meters to document water consumption by their herd.

"Overall, 45 of the water supplies, or 26 percent, had at least one water-quality issue," Swistock said. "Average milk production for these 45 farms was 56 pounds per cow per day, compared to 62 pounds on the 129 farms with good water quality."

Swistock noted that none of the farms with high milk production (above 75 pounds of milk per cow per day) had existing water quality problems, while 32 percent of farms with low milk production -- below 50 pounds of milk per cow -- had at least one potential water-quality problem.

"Penn State Extension encourages farmers with water-quality issues to install water meters to evaluate the herd's water-consumption level," Swistock said. "We also recommend providing alternative sources of water to a subset of the herd to collect more evidence of the potential effect of these water quality problems on performance."


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,200+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Environmental Law Institute Recognizes Penn State Wetlands Scientist
Robert P. Brooks, a wetlands scientist at Penn State, has received the 2013 National Wetlands Award for Science Research.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Scientific News
Exposure to Air Pollution 30 Years Ago Associated with Increased Risk of Death
Exposure to air pollution more than 30 years ago may still affect an individual's mortality risk today, according to new research from Imperial College London.
Low-Cost, Portable NQR Spectroscopy
A researcher at Case Western Reserve University is developing a low-cost, portable prototype designed to detect tainted medicines and food supplements that otherwise can make their way to consumers. The technology can authenticate good medicines and supplements.
Ocean Acidification Makes Coralline Algae Less Robust
Ocean acidification (the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth’s oceans, caused by the uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere), is affecting the formation of the skeleton of coralline algae which play an important part in marine biodiversity, new research from the University of Bristol has found.
Battery Component Found to Harm Key Soil Microorganism
The material at the heart of the lithium ion batteries that power electric vehicles, laptop computers and smartphones has been shown to impair a key soil bacterium, according to new research.
Living a “Mixotrophic” Lifestyle
Some tiny plankton may have big effect on ocean’s carbon storage.
Living a “Mixotrophic” Lifestyle
Some tiny plankton may have big effect on ocean’s carbon storage.
Toxic Pollutants Found in Fish Across the World's Oceans
Scripps researchers' analysis shows highly variable pollutant concentrations in fish meat.
Global Nitrogen Footprint Mapped
Four countries cause almost half the world’s emissions, with developing countries tending to suffer local pollution caused by foreign demand.
Environmental Toxin May Increase Risk of Alzheimer's
First time scientists have observed brain tangles in an animal model through exposure to environmental toxin.
Global Ocean Warming has Doubled in Recent Decades
Lawrence Livermore scientists, working with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and university colleagues, have found that half of the global ocean heat content increase since 1865 has occurred over the past two decades.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,200+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!