Water is an important ingredient for cows. It is essential for the maintenance of important activities and production that go on a dairy farm. For example, water quality has an impact on the feed that animal is given, which affects the animal’s physiological wellness. Through evidence, it is known that low water quality is a major factor in dairy cows’ poor performance and output. Milk production will be reduced if the availability of water is restricted or consumption is reduced due to poor quality. The relevance of water quality for livestock performance and output is often overlooked by livestock farmers. They can earn more money by lowering the production losses caused by poor water quality.
In a study conducted in Punjab, the ground-water quality was tested to understand the effects of groundwater on milk productivity. Electric conductivity (Ec), potential hydrogen (pH), Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), turbidity, mineral, temperature, hardness, and microbial load are some of the water quality metrics.
It is a well-known fact through different research that cattle with direct access to clean drinking water weigh more than cattle without access to clean water. Cattle having access to decent water spent more time grazing, whereas cattle without access to clean water spent more time resting.
In the current study, ground-water samples were collected from the district of Sahiwal, near the 11-L distributary from the distributer’s end to the tail, middle, and head of the water.
The analysis showed that the groundwater quality was unfit at the head, somewhat fit in the middle, and excellent in the tail reaches of the distributary. Meanwhile, the general understanding is that groundwater quality is high in the distributary’s head but poor in the distributary’s tail. However, the samples from Sahiwal showed that the case was opposite here.
- The 11-L distributary is 95% lined in the head and middle reaches, but only 45% line in the tail portions, which explains this conclusion.
- Water seepage is higher in the tail due to the unlined distributary, which enhances groundwater quality at the tail.
- Moreover, because of the political authorities that control canal water distribution, the flow of water was also higher toward the tail.
The quality and quantity of drinking water have a major impact on milk output. If the water is saline, animals drink significantly less. With reduced water consumption, milk production decreases. Low water consumption usually results in a rise in blood urea, a drop in respiratory rate, and a reduction in body weight.
Farmers in the study region gave water two or three times a day, although farmers reported that animals did not drink much owing to poor drinking water quality. Nutrient-dense feed is the most important factor in increasing milk output and improving its composition. Nutrition is responsible for 70% of milk output. Poor nutrition not only affects milk output but also reduces dairy animal fertility.
With proper management, more milk may be collected from animals if they are adequately fed. Feed costs include feed, wheat straw, and concentrates, among other things. Other expenses include animal health and infrastructure. When compared to the head and centre, the average milk output was greater towards the tail.
Therefore, it is suggested that an important factor for the government to consider is that they work on play politics around the distributary canals work and implement a system in which dairy farmers get the best-quality water. Without such implementation, animals from the dairy farms will keep suffering, and the earnings of the farmers will deplete. This is not just detrimental to the farmers’ incomes but also to the economy at large.