Testing water and feed will assist health of a cattle herd, says agriculture livestock and feed specialist Catherine Lang.
Unacceptable levels of certain minerals – sulphur and nitrates – can reduce overall weight, average daily weight gain and health.
Producers should test both water and feed for mineral levels to ensure the best outcome for cattle, she told a celebrating rural ranching women conference.
Excessive sulphur intake in water leads to reduced dry matter intake, in effect starving the animal.
Too much nitrates in feed causes a chemical reaction in the blood that robs the animal of life-sustaining oxygen.
Water tests are done at regional Saskatchewan Agriculture offices with results almost instant.
Feed tests need to be sent away and take a week or so to get results.
Ron Walter can be reached at email@example.com.