Protect Livestock During Drought With Water Testing

SDSU Extension offers an 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.  In some cases, death could occur within days or hours after consumption of contaminated waters or water deprivation," said Robin Salverson, SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist.

Water samples can be taken to one of the sites listed below in a clean plastic or glass container including 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 specialists, Salverson said additional laboratory testing may be suggested.

"The appearance of water can be deceiving and the clearest of water can be the worse," she said. "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 are 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 staff to contact.

SDSU Extension County Offices and Regional Centers

County Offices Staff Phone #
Aurora Tina Kieffer 942-7754
Beadle Jane Ondricek 353-8436
Bennett County Mary Kay Sells 685-6972
Butte/Lawrence Cindy Riley 892-3371
Charles Mix Stephanie Chambliss 487-7666
Clark Josie Michalski 532-3681
Corson Dawne Donner 273-4368
Dewey Marty Hintz 865-3652
Douglas Annie Rankin 724-2719
Haakon/Jackson Sheryl Hansen 859-2840
Hamlin Deb Goebel 783-3656
Hanson Shannon Tegethoff 239-4542
Harding Tonja Montgomery Hansen 375-3412
Jones Angie Kinsley 669-7101
McPherson Jackie Rau 439-3331
Miner Maria Feldhaus 772-4661
Potter Amy Wager 765-9414
Roberts Jill Pistorius 698-7627
Spink Amy Herman 472-5006
Walworth Brenda DeToy 649-7607
Mellette County Kaycee Jones 259-3385
Will be a drop off location    
Regional Extension Centers Phone Number  
Aberdeen Regional Center 626-2870  
Lemmon Regional Center 374-4177  
Mitchell Regional Center 995-7378  
Pierre Regional Center 773-8120  
Rapid City Regional Center 394-1722  
Sioux Falls Regional Center 782-3290  
Watertown Regional Center 882-5140  
Winner Regional Center 842-1267  

Additional information on livestock water quality can be found at the Livestock community page or by contacting Robin Salverson at 605.374.4177 or by email