Good drinking water is very important to keep animals healthy. But what is good drinking water? GD Animal Health tests various aspects of water, such as the microbial count (colony forming units), content levels of various minerals and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD). But the main test carried out by GD Animal Health is the one for suitability as livestock drinking water. Water testing at GD Animal Health is based upon on three pillars:
- water must be available at the location where the animals drink: the pipes cannot be clogged up, the flow of the water from the nipple must be good if the animal wants to drink;
- water must not be harmful – this speaks for itself, as the production, growth and health of the animal must not endangered;
- water must be tasty, i.e. the animals are willing to drink the water.
Nowadays the quality of products meant for human consumption (meat, eggs, milk) is being increasingly monitored. These products must be of a high and unsuspicious quality. The water the animals drink must not threaten the quality of the meat. GD Animal Health analyses water designated for livestock drinking water. The results show to what extent the above mentioned criteria are met.
Three important reasons why water is submitted for laboratory analysis are;
- Quality control of an existing well
- Quality control of a new well
Drinking water tests
The main thing a livestock farmer wants to know about the water at his farm, is its suitability as livestock drinking water. If the water is not suitable, GD Animal Health gives advice on options for improving the quality. For water testing, GD Animal Health has created what it refers to as drinking water packages. A water sample is subjected to many tests: e.g. chemical, bacteriological and organoleptical tests. Individual tests for water samples are possible as well, and individual packages can be created too. Water testing is a fine example of the versatility of GD Animal Health. The results of various laboratory departments that test the water are combined. That gives a complete picture of the suitability as drinking water. The advice that is linked to the results is specific for every submitted sample.
Techniques used for water testing include the following;
- Ion chromatography: a chemical compound is used to separate ions such as nitrate, chlorine, and sulphate, and then they are measured using UV detection.
- ICP: for metals and minerals (induced coupled plasma: the sample is dissolved in an acid environment and this acid is atomised in argon plasma of 10,000 °C; then metals and minerals emit specific light that is detected by a chip).
- Automated colorimetric methods: some tests are carried out using a colorimetric method (ammonium, nitrite) in accordance with the Standardised NEN methods prescribed in the Netherlands.
- Bacteriological testing