Dairy cows need water. Is water a risk for your dairy?

A recent article originating from the World Economic Forum in Davos, highlighted global business leaders’ concern with risks to their businesses associated with water. Sometimes its too much water, but more often too little, or of inadequate quality. That article spurred me to think that dairy business owners should be equally concerned about their access to clean water for cows and crops. The ongoing drought across large swaths of dairy production around the world is just one factor.   As populations grow, people become more affluent, etc. the demands on water supplies increase dramatically. Around the world, agriculture in general, and especially dairy production, is going to face increased socioeconomic competition for water. Drilling deeper wells is only going to work so long. All around the world, water withdrawals are outpacing the rate of recharge.  The World Resources Institute, working with funding from the Coca-Cola Company, developed the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas which allows users to explore the water risks to their business arising from the increased competition for water.  Looking at the Agriculture scenario, which includes water Quantity risk, water Quality risk and Regulatory risk, provides a picture like this:

Global Water Stress - Agriculture

As is typical, orange and red indicate higher levels of risk, or stress on the water supply.  Make a rough stab at your dairy’s location.  What does the water risk scenario look like for you?  What can you do to help ensure your dairy has abundant, clean water for the cows and the crops?  Like the global business leaders at the World Economic Forum, this question should never be far from your mind.

About Charlie Elrod

With 30+ years of experience in the dairy industry, I have a well-rounded perspective of what makes a dairy work. In that time I built and operated my own dairy, worked as a herdsman, practiced as an A.I. and E.T. technician, conducted research in nutrition and reproduction, developed educational programs for dairy industry professionals and provided contract technical support to global feed and ingredient companies. In my role with Balchem Corporation, I have the opportunity to bring that experience to bear in product development, testing, clinical and field research, and supporting our customers. My interest in water stems from a lifelong interest in geology and an innate curiosity about how something so fundamental as water can have such profound effects on cows.
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