Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Food & Beverage Analysis
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

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
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 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ 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 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

E. coli Thrive in Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Researchers have defined a fundamental mechanism through which the bacteria can thrive during IBD flare-ups.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Altered Milk Protein Can Deliver AIDS Drug to Infants
Binding with an antiretroviral drug promises to greatly improve treatment for infants and young children suffering from HIV/AIDS.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Ultraviolet Flashes can Create Vitamin D-Enriched Mushrooms
Quick zaps of ultraviolet light can boost the vitamin D levels in mushrooms in seconds, turning the fungi into an even healthier food, according to Penn State food scientists.
Tuesday, August 06, 2013
Number of Foodborne Illness Cases Largely Unchanged in U.S.
Recently released reports about the frequency of foodborne illness show that the risks have not changed much in recent years, according to an expert in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Latest Food Scare Avoided with Proper Handling and Cooking
Seems like every month there is a new food scare that makes the national news. Most recently, it was antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens found in pork.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Scientific News
The MaxSignal Colistin ELISA Test Kit from Bioo Scientific
Kit can help prevent the antibiotic apocalypse by keeping last resort drugs out of the food supply.
Kitchen Utensils Can Spread Bacteria Between Foods
In a recent study researchers found that produce that contained bacteria would contaminate other produce items through the continued use of knives or graters—the bacteria would latch on to the utensils commonly found in consumers' homes and spread to the next item.
GMO Food Animals Should be Judged by Product, Not Process
In a world with a burgeoning demand for meat, milk and eggs, regulatory policies around the use of biotechnologies in agriculture need to be based on the safety and attributes of those foods rather than on the methods used to produce them, says a UC Davis animal scientist.
Acetaldehyde and Formaldehyde Content in Foods
Korean researchers have determined the content of the toxic and carcinogenic aldehydes, acetaldehyde and formaldehyde, in a variety of food groups.
Increasing Vitamin D Supplementation
New study from ETH Zurich finds that elderly women should consume more vitamin D than previously recommended during the winter months.
IARC Monographs Evaluate Consumption of Red Meat and Processed Meat
Processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.
Nanoparticles in Foods Raise Safety Questions
Nanoparticles can make foods like jawbreaker candies brighter and creamier and keep them fresh longer. But researchers are still in the dark about what the tiny additives do once inside our bodies.
Arsenic Found in Many U.S. Red Wines
A new University of Washington study that tested 65 wines from America’s top four wine-producing states — California, Washington, New York and Oregon — found all but one have arsenic levels that exceed what’s allowed in drinking water.
Viruses Join Fight Against Harmful Bacteria
Engineered viruses could combat human disease and improve food safety.
Plastic for Dinner
Roughly a quarter of the fish sampled from fish markets in California and Indonesia contained man-made debris according to a study from the University of California, Davis, and Hasanuddin University in Indonesia.

SELECTBIO Market Reports
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
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos