High sulfate levels in water can be a problem in some grazing areas, especially where dry conditions concentrate dissolved solids in stock ponds. Researchers at South Dakota State University have conducted trials to evaluate the effects of high-sulfate water on cows, calves and steers. In this study, sulfate levels averaging 2,608 ppm in the drinking water of cow-calf pairs during the summer resulted in significant cow weight loss and condition loss but did not reduce calf performance or reproduction compared to sulfate levels averaging 388 ppm. In a separate trial, steers drinking high-sulfate water had significantly lower average daily gains compared with steers drinking low-sulfate water. Specialists encourage producers to test suspect water sources for sulfates and other minerals. Where concentrations are high, work with a nutritionist or extension specialist to adjust supplements accordingly and, if necessary, provide an alternative water source.