Livestock Watering Package


Sulfate in water used for livestock should not exceed 1000 mg/L. Higher concentrations of sulfate can be tolerated, but loss in production should be anticipated. High levels of sulfate can cause diarrhea in young animals.


The concentration of total dissolved solids (TDS) in water used for livestock watering should not exceed 3000 mg/L. Water with higher TDS concentrations can be used but the type of livestock and their age must be considered. See table below.

Livestock Package, Basic

Includes: Sulfate/Salinity. Suitable for assessing common concerns in water used for livestock.

Livestock Package I

Includes: Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Sulfate, Sum of ions, pH, Specific conductivity, Nitrate, Alkalinity, Bicarbonate, Carbonate, Hydroxide, Total Hardness, Total Dissolved Solids, Fluoride. Suitable for assessing overall quality in water used for livestock. 

Livestock Package II  

Includes: ICP-MS metal scan, Mercury. Suitable for identifying potential contaminants in water for livestock 

Livestock Package III

Includes: Phenoxy Herbicides, Pesticides and Neutral Herbicides. Suitable for identifying contamination of pesticides and herbicides in water used for livestock

TDS, mg/L Suitability for Livestock
<1000   Relatively low level of salinity; excellent for all classes of livestock
1000-3000 Satisfactory for all classes of livestock and poultry, but some loss in productivity should be anticipated; may cause temporary and mild diarrhea in livestock not accustomed to them or water droppings in poultry
3000-5000 Satisfactory for livestock, but may cause temporary diarrhea or be refused at first by animals not accustomed to them; poor waters for poultry, often causing watery feces, increased mortality and decreased growth, especially in turkeys
7000-10000 Can be used with reasonable safety for beef cattle, sheep, swine and horses; avoid use for pregnant or lactating animals and dairy cattle; not acceptable for poultry
>10000 Risks with these highly saline waters are so great that they cannot be recommended for use under any conditions

Surface Water Quality Objectives for Livestock Use (CCME 1999)
(values are in ug/L unless otherwise stated)

Parameter Limit (in ug/L unless otherwise noted)
Aluminum  5000
Arsenic  25
Bacteria Very young animals are much more susceptible to problems from bacterial contamination than mature animals. For specific advice, consult your veterinarian.
Beryllium  100
Blue-green algae  Avoid heavy growth
Boron  5000
Bromoxynil  11
Cadmium  80
Chromium VI  50
Cobalt  1000
Copper  500 ug/L for sheep; 1000 ug/L for cattle; 5000 ug/L for swine and poultry.
Dicamba  122
Diclofop-methyl  9
Fluoride (in mg/L)  1 - 2  
(1.0 mg/L if feed contains fluoride)
Glyphosate  280
Lead  100
Lindane  4
Mercury  3
Molybdenum  500
Nickel  1000
Nitrate + Nitrite (in mg/L)  100
Phenol  2
Phenoxy herbicides (2,4-D)  100
Picloram  190
Selenium  50
Sulphate (in mg/L)  1000
Total Dissolved Solids (in mg/L)  3000
Triallate  230
Trifluralin  45
Uranium  200
Vanadium  100
Zinc  50,000

In such situations where the quality of water available for livestock watering does not meet the objectives livestock, producers are advised to contact their local veterinarian for advice.