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Drinking frequency effects on the performance of cattle: A systematic review
journal contributionposted on 2018-09-13, 00:00 authored by LR Williams, Emma JacksonEmma Jackson, Gregory Bishop-HurleyGregory Bishop-Hurley, David SwainDavid Swain
This study used a systematic literature review methodology to determine whether there is evidence that drinking frequency has effects on cattle performance, what performance responses to drinking frequency are documented and how performance responses vary according to environmental and animal factors. Electronic databases were searched for English language articles with original data on at least one performance attribute (e.g. water intake, feed intake, live weight) of cattle in response to voluntary drinking frequency or controlled access periods to water. Sixteen experiments on dairy cows and 12 experiments on beef cattle were retrieved from the literature. For beef cattle, all experiments reported reduced water and feed intake with access to water once every second and/or third day compared with once-daily access. Median reductions of 15% and 25% in water intake and 16% and 9% in feed intake were found across experiments respectively. Live weight responses of beef cattle to access to water were limited and yielded positive, negative and no effects. For dairy cows, most experiments reported reduced water intake, milk yield and milk fat content with access to water twice or once daily compared with controls (ad libitum or ad libitum except at the dairy). Median reductions of 13% and 12% in water intake, 2% and 1% in milk yield and 1% and 2% in milk fat content were found across experiments respectively. Water availability effects on feed intake and live weight were very limited for dairy cows and yielded positive, neutral and negative effects. Season, climate, experiment conditions, animal class and animal genotype were identified to potentially influence intake responses of cattle. The review highlights a number of important gaps in the literature where future work is required to better understand the optimum drinking frequency of cattle and implications of water availability on health, welfare and performance. © 2016 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.