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Environmental factors influencing cattle's water consumption at offstream watering points in rangeland beef cattle

journal contribution
posted on 13.07.2020, 00:00 by Julie-Ann Malan, Nicole FlintNicole Flint, Emma JacksonEmma Jackson, Andrew IrvingAndrew Irving, David SwainDavid Swain
Agricultural best management practices (BMP) are of global importance to protect and promote sustainable food supplies and natural resources. Providing an offstream watering point (OSWP) is a functional and cost-effective BMP recommended to assist in maintaining or improving riparian areas and instream water quality. Understanding which factors contribute to cattle's use of OSWPs may enhance the decision making process for graziers when they consider implementing the use of an OSWP. This study's objective were to understand how cattle utilise OSWPs where they have access to an OSWP as the only drinking source compared to where a choice exists between drinking from an OSWP and a river. Choices were determined across a range of environmental factors, including water quality represented by total dissolved solids, climatic factors such as temperature humidity index, the number of rainfall days and wind speed, OSWP distance to stream, stocking density and vegetation greenness within 100 m from the OSWP. The results indicated that 1) cattle consume approximately half of their daily water from the OSWP when they have access to both an OSWP and the river (p = 0.023), with the number of rainfall days being a significant contributing factor (p = 0.037) with cattle consuming less water from OSWP during rain events and 2) Rainfall events influence WC consumption at OSWPs which may alter both vegetation and OSWP water quality and in turn influence how cattle select for water sources, but how cattle select for water sources will need of further researched. Furthermore, vegetation greenness around OSWPs may be of less importance where cattle have river access. © 2019


Category 3 - Industry and Other Research Income




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Era Eligible



Livestock Science