Drinking water that contains a high mineral content or is contaminated with pathogens can hurt calf performance and health. To protect your calves, invest in a water analysis, says Tim Johnson, PurdueUniversity dairy specialist. Request the following information from a lab that offers a water-analysis service:

  • Total dissolved solids. (Maximum tolerable limit is 3,000 parts per million.)
  • pH. (Maximum tolerable limit is 8.5.)
  • Mineral and micro-mineral concentrations. (If maximum mineral levels are not provided by the lab, ask your nutritionist to compare your water-mineral results to the maximum tolerable limits listed in the dairy NRC.)
  • Information on presence, number and type of bacteria in the sample. (Total bacteria count in the sample should be less than 1,000 per 100 milliliters of water.)