Usage and attitudes of water conservation on Ontario dairy farms.

Robinson, A.D., Gordon, R.J., VanderZaag, A.C., Rennie, T.J., and Osborne, V.R. (2016). "Usage and attitudes of water conservation on Ontario dairy farms.", Professional Animal Scientist, 32(2), pp. 236-242. doi : 10.15232/pas.2015-01468  Access to full text

Abstract

Water use on 17 Ontario dairy farms was studied over 20 mo using continuous-flow water meters to measure cow consumption and milk-house and parlor usage with the goal of quantifying and assessing the amount of water used on dairy farms. The farmers were also interviewed regarding their perspectives on water use on their operations as well as throughout the industry. The goal was to gauge producers’ opinions and motivations behind water use as well as future environmental and industrial sustainability. Average water use for a free-stall automated milking operation was greater (P < 0.01) than the average usage for a free-stall parlor and a tie-stall operation. Overall, water use was found to be greater (P < 0.05) during the summer (June–August) than the winter months (December–February). Producers of free-stall operations were found to implement sustainable water-use strategies on their farms even without government incentive.

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