BE SALT AWARE: Producers are being urged to check the saltiness of livestock’s water after recorded high salinity levels in the Richmond River. Photo: Ali Kuchel
BE SALT AWARE: Producers are being urged to check the saltiness of livestock’s water after recorded high salinity levels in the Richmond River. Photo: Ali Kuchel

Farmers urged to watch out for salt poisoning of cattle

FOLLOWING recently recorded high salinity levels in the Richmond River, North Coast Local Land Services is encouraging cattle producers between Coraki and Ballina to monitor salt levels in water being provided to livestock from the Richmond River.

Salinity is a measure of the dissolved salts in water, and in rivers is usually highest during periods of low flow.

North Coast Local Land Services' district veterinarian Dr Liz Bolin said high levels of salt will affect water intake and in extreme cases, can lead to salt poisoning.

Animals will appear unwell with a lack of appetite and reluctance to drink and diarrhoea.

She said the effects of salinity are dependent on species, breed, age, feed, ambient and water temperature, humidity, and mineral content.

Pregnant, lactating and young stock under hot conditions or having experienced water loss such as yarding or transport are most at risk from water salinity.

"The only practical way to reduce the salinity level of livestock water is to try and dilute it with a less salty water source," she said.

"The amount of water required depends on the salinity level of both water sources."

If you suspect your cattle may be suffering from salt poisoning, contact your private veterinarian or the North Coast Local Land Services district veterinarian on 1300 795 299.

North Coast Local Land Services recommends producers should organise for water sample testing if you are unsure or concerned about the quality of your farm water supplies.

They said farmers should consider testing the water yourself either with a handheld electrical conductivity (EC) meter or by contacting your Local Land Services or NSW DPI office who may have water test kits available.

Alternatively, there are numerous private laboratories which can test your water or your local pool store may provide a basic testing service.

Rous Water provides weekly water quality reports for stations at Coraki, Swan Bay, Rocky Mouth Creek, Woodburn, Kilgin and Bagotville Barrage.

Information can be found at the Rous Water website www.rous.nsw.gov.au or Water NSW website https://realtimedata.waternsw.com.au.

For more information about water quality for livestock can be found at NSW DPI's website https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/about-us/services/laboratory-services/water-testing/livestock-water-quality-tests


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