Cattle producers have been sending in samples to avoid potential issues later this summer.
The deaths of more than 200 cattle on a community pasture in July 2017 served as a wakeup call.
Sulfate concentrations in the crown lease operated by Shamrock Grazing Ltd., about an hour southwest of Moose Jaw, were more than three times lethal limits.
Water quality is on everyone’s radar with the expectation of another dry year.
“Right now is a good time to get the water tested,” says Leah Clark, a livestock and feed extension specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture in Watrous. “We can get the baseline and if we know that we are in the cautionary zone, we can watch things a little more diligently.”
Clark says water sources can be used strategically. For example, one with a higher sulphate or dissolved solids reading can be used earlier before evaporation becomes an issue in July and August.
One litre water samples can be taken to any regional Saskatchewan Agriculture office for an on-the-spot test. A sample is also sent to a provincial lab for a more detailed reading The results are usually available within three to five days.