The recent warm and dry weather increased the pressure placed on water system/supplies on farms – particularly on dairy farms.

Water was in high demand from cows during the recent dry spell; not only was it hot, but grass dry matter also increased, which meant that the amount of water being drank by the cows is likely to have increased.

Water system

During these spells of weather a weakness in a farm’s water system can be exposed, with lack of pressure resulting in troughs or drinkers being dry.

The period just after milking is when the water system is likely to be under the most pressure.

A large number of cows standing around the trough can be an indictor that your system is under pressure and that not enough water is entering the drought fast enough.

A cow drinks about 65L/day, but during hot or warm spells this can increase to between 90-140L.

Many water systems on farms were exposed in 2018 by the drought, with many updating their systems since then.

But there has also been a number of new entrants to dairy since then and land may also have been added to grazing platform.


When you are looking to upgrade your system, there are a number of areas that need to be looked at and considered.

Firstly, the number of cows you could possibly milk needs to be considered as this will have a major bearing on trough and pipe size.

You also need to look at other possible infrastructure changes that may happen, like are you considering altering paddock sizes or layout.

Another area that should be looked at is the number and location of your drinkers at present.

If you are upgrading or updating your water system you should look at ensuring you are getting the most out of them.

A troughs location in a paddock can have a major influence on when it can be grazed, particularly in the shoulders on the year.

Getting their positioning correct allows for the most efficient grazing to be achieved, while also ensuring that cows have access to water.