Cattle should always have access to clean, fresh drinking water throughout the winter housing period.
Water troughs usually get clogged up with silage and other forages. They can also be contaminated with faeces where troughs are fitted within cattle pens.
Therefore, it is important to empty out troughs every couple of days or at least weekly to prevent soiling of drinking water.
Cows in milk and finishing cattle on high levels of concentrate will be drinking anywhere from 40 to 60 litres of water on a daily basis.
Soiled, dirty water can limit drinking activity. This affects dry matter intake, which will inevitably reduce milk yield or weight gain.
Check the refilling rate. Smaller troughs with self-filling paddles are fine for individual calving pens, but they are not appropriate in sheds with finishing cattle on high levels of concentrate.
In such scenarios, it is not uncommon to see cattle standing and queuing to drink. Again, this will have a negative impact on dry matter intake.