It's very important but often underestimated:

Water is an essential nutritional component for cattle.

It is an indispensable part of any biological process, so that problems in the quantity and quality of drinking water immediately lead to a domino effect.

If cattle do not drink, they do not grow and / or do not give milk.

Good water quality and water supply, gives more growth and more milk!

On 30% of the dairy farms that have a problem with milk production, the cause must be found in the water quality and water supply!


Milk consists of 87% water.

Only 20 to 40% comes from the feed ration. The other 80 to 60% comes from drinking water.

Water therefore deserves our attention. Clean and fresh drinking water stimulates drinking and the total dry matter absorption by the cow. This is necessary for a good rumen function and a sufficient transit in the intestinal system. Also for good digestion and absorption of nutrients.


There are various formulas to calculate the drinking water requirement of cows. I myself use the guideline that approximately 4.5 liters of drinking water is required per liter of milk.

For dry cows I calculate about 40 liters per day. At high ambient temperatures, cows drink a factor of 1.2 to 2.0 more.


Cows kept in stables with cow cubicles, drink about 6 times a day. Cows that are tethered drink up to 14 times a day.

Cows drink at a rate of 20 liters per minute. Most drinking sessions are often less than one minute. Sufficient flow is therefore an absolute must.

The flow is often obstructed by a biofilm. Some bacteria produce biofilms in the drinking water pipes. These are very difficult to remove and have a negative effect on the flow rate and the microbial drinking water quality.


The accessibility of drinking troughs is very important. In cowsheds with a low occupancy (calving stable, dry group), self-drinkers (small bowl-shaped drinking troughs) are very suitable.


Drinking troughs with a constant water level are better for larger groups of cows (> 20 animals). Cows prefer to drink from water reservoirs.

Put 1 drinking trough per 20 - 30 cows. Never less than 2 drinking troughs in the cowshed! 

At least 10% of lactating cows must be able to drink quietly and at the same time.

Do not place the drinking troughs in corners or dead ends.

Regularly observe how your cows drink. This gives you a lot of extra information.



Cows prefer a water temperature between 15 and 25 ° C. This in both summer and winter.