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Filthy Troughs Cost Farmers Plenty - Water Special

Filthy Troughs Cost Farmers Plenty - Water Specialist

Cleaner Water Means More Milk

Many farmers are missing out on valuable extra production because their stock have to drink dirty water, according to water specialist Peter Bunker. The problem is not the water source but the troughs that stock drink from, he says.

"Farmers spend a lot of money getting a clean water supply and reticulating it around the farm, but they put it into filthy troughs", says Bunker.

"Dust, grass, cud, dung, leaves, fertiliser, and the residue from bathing ducks and dogs all accumulate rapidly to produce an unsavoury cocktail that's ideal for algae and slime but bad for the stock."

Research at Massey University and overseas has shown that stock greatly prefer drinking from clean troughs - they drink more, produce about half a litre more milk, and feed conversion efficiency is improved by about 8%.

"Some troughs look reasonably clean but they have a thick layer of sludge at the bottom, and as soon as the stock drink and the inlet valve opens, the dirt is swirled around in the water making it unpalatable," he says.

Bunker, who developed the award-winning Trofftop trough cover that keeps contaminants and sunlight out but allows stock to drink, has set up a water consultancy to advise farmers on improving production by upgrading their stock water system. Factors like water quality, the number of troughs, their size and location, cleaning and protection will be taken into account.

"Lack of high quality water is a limiting factor on many farms. If farmers want to increase production, it is the first thing they should look at," says Bunker.

"Cattle and sheep that have ready access to plenty of clean water are more contented and produced more. It makes sense for farmers to offer them the best."

For more information, contact Peter Bunker on 07-827-3217, or 021 404 505.


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