Use Dedicated Tanks for Hauling Livestock Water

AMES, Iowa ― Tanks that are used to haul nitrogen-based fertilizer should not be used to transport any type of drinking water supply for animals. Steve Ensley, of Iowa State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine Department, said once a tank has been used to haul fertilizer, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to remove all of the nitrogen sources from that tank.

“Any nitrogen sources remaining in the tank can potentially cause nitrate toxicosis in ruminants,” Ensley said. “During drought many forages become elevated in nitrate concentration so you don’t want to compound any issues with feed and water nitrate concentrations because they are additive. We strongly recommend that you haul drinking water only in tanks that are dedicated to that purpose.”

The ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory offers water quality testing. For more information on that and all the tests offered, see the lab’s website: