Rural services

Calculating livestock water requirements for your farm

To ensure your stock has adequate water, it’s important to know how much water your livestock needs each month. Understanding your property’s water source is also helpful and will help ensure the correct amount of water is available on your property.

Livestock drinking requirements

Average consumption figures can be estimated per head however this can be affected by the livestock breed, sex and age, feed type and quality as well as weather conditions.

It’s important to note water consumption will increase during summer by about 40% for cattle, sheep and horses and up to 80% on extremely hot days.

Cattle Daily Water Requirements 

Cattle type

Daily requirements (L/head)

Lactating cow on grassland

40–100

Lactating cow on saltbush

70–140

Young stock

25–50

Dry stock (400kg)

35–80

Sheep Daily Water Requirements

Sheep type

Daily requirements (L/head)

Adult dry sheep on grassland

2–6

Adult dry sheep on saltbush

4–12

Ewes with lambs

4–10

Weaners

2–4

Horse Daily Water Requirements

Horse type

Daily requirements (L/head)

Lactating horses

80–150

Young horses

20–40

Horses

40–50

Animal welfare in times of drought

ACT Government vets can offer veterinary advice to landholders on animal health issues. This is offered as a free service to rural landholders in the ACT.

More information

More information is available about assistance packages for the ACT's rural landholders.