The use and macro-mineral content of saline water for goat production

Author: B.A. McGregor
Year: 2004
Issue: 5
Volume: 34
Page: 215 - 218

To overcome a lack of data on the use and acceptability of saline water for goats, a survey of saline water use by drought affected goat producers in Australia was completed. The responses (n = 31) from all but one contributor indicated that the goats survived on saline water sources without any noticeable problems. The range in the acceptable total dissolved salts (TDS) was (median; minimum; maximum): 2,300; 200; 11,000 mg/L; electrical conductivity (EC) 4,200, 400, 16,000 S/cm; total alkalinity 240; 0; 550 mg CaCO3/L; pH 7.5; 3.7; 8.5; total P 0.03; 0.01; 0.17 mg/L; total N 1.1; 0.09; 14.0 mg/L; Mg 110; 0; 470 mg/L; Na 560; 50; 3,200 mg/L; Cl 970; 25; 4,600 mg/L. Two producers noted that goats walk past fresh ground water to drink bore water with 11000 mg TDS/L and survived. One case of saline poisoning was related to water with a TDS of 33,000 mg/L and a Mg concentration of 1,300 mg/L. The application of the results is discussed. Goats can tolerate water with high salinity levels, but they need to be adapted to saline water. Long-term effects of increased saline water intake and elevated trace element exposure in adapted goats should be investigated.

Keywords: conductivity, magnesium, mortality, total dissolved salts, Water quality
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