Consumption of water is a key factor in the production of milk by dairy cows. Short of this, the cow will give you little milk and even gradually waste off.
“It has to start with at least 100 litres of water per day,” Hussein Kato says.
Kato is an animal scientist working with the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI), Namulonge.
He says taking big amounts of water can also be used to judge if a heifer will be a good milker.
“Even before it starts producing milk, you can observe how much water it drinks for you to know if it will be a good milker,” Kato says.
He explains that 95% of milk is composed of water. This means that if it gives you 30 litres of water per day, it has lost at least 25 litres of water. This water has to be replaced immediately.
Dr Jolly Kabirizi, a zero-grazing farmer says the water trough must be filled all the time.
“There is no limit to the amount of water that a mature cow consumes per day. You have to make sure that the water trough has clean water all the time,” she says. And, it must be clean water and not dirty water.
“If you cannot drink the water yourself, do not give it to your cow,” Kabirizi says.
This means that if you have five mature cows, you need at least 500 litres of water per day or about 25 jerrycans of water.
“You need a water storage tank so that even when the taps run dry, you have a fallback position,” Kabirizi advises. A 5000 litre tank can take you for 10 days if you have 5 milking cows.