Livestock producers are being reminded about checking and monitoring water quality in pastures.
Livestock and Feed Extension Specialist Natasha Wilkie says it's a good idea to get your water tested even if you don't think you have a problem.
“It doesn't matter if we have dugouts, if we have wells, if it looks clear, or if it's brown and mucky. There's contaminants in our water that will not show up and their present in all of those scenarios, trust me. I have seen clear well water come in and it's high in sulphates. Which is an issue that lots of us are aware of now which is a good thing because it does affect our animals, their weight gain, and their reproductive issues.”
Producers can bring water samples into Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Agriculture offices for free tests.
She notes it's also the time of year to monitor dugouts for blue-green algae blooms which can be toxic to livestock.
“You want to wear a glove and scoop that algae up. If it runs through your fingers and looks kind of more like pea soup, and you just have a few green bits on your fingers. Then it could be blue-green algae. And when you're just looking out at the water body in general, it's going to have like a shimmering blue-green colour to it. It could also have a foamy or sheen like appearance to it that kind of looks like spilled paint sitting on top of the water.”
If you find a problem you should remove the livestock or fence the dugout off and treat it with a registered copper sulphate product, as the algae can be a major problem and even lead to animal death.
More information on Blue-Green Algae is available here.