Right now, farmers and ranchers who own livestock are encouraged to get their water tested, to make sure it’s safe for their animals to drink.
The NDSU Extension says the unusually dry conditions have led to higher levels of sulfates in water, which can cause severe medical issues in some animals.
Some of these issues include animals acting lethargic, having seizures and, in some cases, going blind.
The lack of snow-melt is also being credited with causing the above-average sulfates in water sources.
Extension agents tell KX News it’s especially bad in the southwestern part of the state where more than 1,000 tests have been done and the results are not good.
“25% of them have come in at levels where we would see some kind of impact to livestock performance. So over 3,000 parts per million. And then we’ve had three that have tested above 10,000 and at that point, we’re at risk of death or some type of brain damage,” said Miranda Meehan with the NDSU Extension.
She adds it’s not just a cow or bull problem, goats and sheep that drink from the same water supply can also be sickened by high sulfate levels.