SDSU Extension Aids Producers in Protecting Livestock Through Water Testing Service


Brookings, S.D. – SDSU Extension is offering an on-site livestock water testing service at all SDSU Extension regional centers and several 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,” said 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 tests have already indicated that poor water quality is present this spring. This comes as no surprise to producers, since the 2021 drought and minimal snow run-off has perpetuated the issue.

For one ranch in Mobridge, South Dakota, utilizing testing services proved to be beneficial, as tests showed some of their dams were unusable and several of them borderline unusable, requiring further testing.

“Getting immediate results on the bad water was a huge help in adjusting our grazing plan and making changes where it was needed,” said Bailey Johnson of Johnson-Rose Angus Ranch in Mobridge.

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.

Water samples must be collected in a clean plastic or glass container such as water or pop bottles, jelly jars, etc.

“The appearance of water can be deceiving, and the clearest of water can be the worst,” said Salverson. “Additionally, some water sources, 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.”

Water samples can be delivered to the following SDSU Extension county offices:

  • Aurora County: Tina Kieffer at 605-942-7754
  • Bennett County: Mary Kay Sell at 605-685-6972
  • Butte/Lawrence County: Cindy Riley or Michelle May at 605-892-3371
  • Campbell County: Lyndel Peterson at 605-955-3305
  • Corson County: Robin Salverson at 605-374-4177
  • Charles Mix County: Sara Bauder at 605-487-7666
  • Gregory County: Sean Kelly at 605-842-1267
  • Haakon County: Rebekah Taylor or Kaycee Jones at 605-859-2840
  • Hanson County: Shannon Tegethoff at 605-239-4542
  • Harding County: Ryanna Turbiville or Laurie Elmore at 605-375-3412
  • Hutchinson County: Jenaya Brengle at 605-387-4205
  • Jackson County: Kaycee Jones or Rebekah Taylor at 605-837-2133
  • Jerauld County: Teresa Fonder at 605-539-9471
  • Jones County: Vanessa Hight or Robin Buchholz at 605-669-7101
  • Lake County: Carrie Schiernbeck at 605-256-7603
  • McCook County: Stacy Sieverding at 605-425-2242
  • McPherson County: Jackie Rau at 605-439-3331
  • Mellette County: Vanessa Hight or Robin Buchholz at 605-259-3385
  • Miner County: Brittany Yanish at 605-772-4661
  • Walworth County: Robin Salverson at 605-374-4177

Water samples can also be delivered to the following SDSU Extension regional centers:

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

For more information or questions, please contact Robin Salverson, SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist, at 605-374-4177 or