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Protect Livestock with Water Testing

BROOKINGS, S.D. - South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension is offering on-site livestock water testing service at all SDSU Extension Regional Extension Centers and several SDSU Extension County Offices throughout the state.

"It is critical to monitor livestock water quality, because poor quality water can have a negative effect on growth, reproduction and general productivity of the animal," says Robin Salverson, SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist. "In some cases, death could occur within days or hours after consumption of contaminated waters or water deprivation."

Water samples can be taken to one of the sites listed below and must be collected in a clean, plastic or glass container. This includes water or pop bottles, jelly jars, etc.

A quick test is conducted free of charge with an electro-conductivity (EC) meter to determine total salts in the water. After consultation with an SDSU Extension field or state specialist, Salverson says additional laboratory testing may be suggested but will be at the cost of the producer.

"The appearance of water can be deceiving, and the clearest of water can be the worst," she says. "Additionally, some water sources, regardless if it has been dry or wet, can be high in total salts. Therefore, continuous monitoring of water quality and quantity is important to maintain a productive livestock program."

Sites for Livestock Water Testing

Below is a complete list of SDSU Extension locations where testing is offered and the staff to contact.

County Offices

County Offices Staff Phone Number
Aurora County Tina Kieffer 605-942-7754
Bennett County Mary Kay Sell 605-685-6972
Butte/Lawrence Cindy Riley / Michelle May 605-892-3371
Campbell County Shari Rossow 605-955-3305
Corson County Dawne Donner 605-273-4368
Gregory County Ashley Meyer 605-775-2581
Haakon County Rebekah Taylor 605-859-2840
Hanson County Shannon Tegethoff 605-239-4542
Harding County Ryanna Turbiville/Laurie Elmore 605-375-3412
Hutchinson County Jenaya Brengle 605-387-4205
Jackson County Kaycee Jones 605-837-2133
Jones County Vanessa Hight 605-669-7101
McCook County Stacy Sieverding 605-425-2242
McPherson County Jackie Rau 605-439-3331
Mellette County Vanessa Hight 605-259-3385
Miner County Maria Feldhaus 605-772-4661
Walworth County Shari Rossow 605-649-7607

Regional Extension Centers

Regional Extension Centers Phone Number
Aberdeen Regional Center 605-626-2870
Lemmon Regional Center 605-374-4177
Mitchell Regional Center 605-995-7378
Pierre Regional Center 605-773-8120
Rapid City Regional Center 605-394-1722
Sioux Falls Regional Center 605-782-3290
Watertown Regional Center 605-882-5140
Winner Regional Center 605-842-1267
Cottonwood Research Station/Adele Harty 605-441-5870

Additional information on livestock water quality can be found at or by contacting Salverson at 605-374-4177 or