A series of workshops this week are designed to help give livestock producers more Strategies for Dealing with Dry Conditions. 

Meetings were held this week in Shaunavon and Hodgeville giving producers more opportunities to learn about water quality issues, dugout construction, and critical habitat, alternative feed strategies for winter feeding in dry years, and funding options through the new Canadian Agricultural Partnership. 

Jessica Smith a Livestock and Feed Extension Specialist with Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Agriculture talked to producers about getting their water tested.

“The most important thing to do is to test your water so you know exactly what you’re dealing with. We do have some water meters in our Regional offices and we do have the ability to send samples away to the Provincial Lab. So, once you know what your water quality is there are some strategies you can use to counteract some of the detrimental effects that poor quality water has.”

Producers may want to look at hauling in water and making sure they have a good nutritional and mineral program in place.  Smith says the hot, dry conditions can pose issues in water.

“When it’s been so hot and so dry any contaminants that are in that water source tend to concentrate in the hot dry weather as the water in your dugout is evaporating in the heat.   It’s possible that you haven’t seen issues in the past, but it’s important to monitor your cattle. You know it’s very simple to bring in a water sample to get tested…simple and free.”

She says in the last couple of years they've seen high levels of sulfates and T-D-S or total dissolved solids when testing the water. She adds that just because you've never had a problem with your dugout and the water looks clear doesn't mean it won't have issues. 

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