Angus cattle in snowstormKeeping water from freezing is one of the never-ending responsibilities of cattle producers in the winter. But as the most essential nutrient for cattle production, non-frozen water is non-negotiable for any herd, particularly during lactation. Spring calving herds in particular need water access to avoid stress and long-term performance impacts to both the cow and unborn calf.

Here are three tips to keep cattle drinking all winter:

1. Carefully consider water placement. If you place water where the herd naturally stands to conserve body heat during the coldest winter days, the easier it will be for them to access it. Additionally, they’ll use less energy traveling to and from the waterer. Water sites should be well-drained and avoid mud and ice, which can become a slipping hazard.

2. Proactively prevent ice. Automatic waterers can be great at keeping ice at bay through insulation, electric, propane, solar or heat tape. Keeping water moving is another way to prevent ice.

3. Prepare for the unexpected. Extreme winter weather can happen anywhere, so be prepared for those particularly challenging winter storms. Having a pre-storm plan can help your operation act swiftly, especially if vital supplies have already been purchased.

Read more on winter weather water tips for your cattle herd here.