Electrolytes and Hydration: Health for Your Whole Farm

Have a healthy, hydrated summer on the farm with electrolytes for you, electrolytes for your animals, and electrolytes for your soil and plants.

Posted by Brooke Loeffler on Jun 3, 2024 9:30:00 AM

Summer heat can pack a punch; so before you and your farm start to feel wilted and depleted, let’s learn some hydration hacks that will help you, your animals, and your plants stay healthy and productive.

Healthy hydration involves more than just drinking water, especially when you are working hard in higher temperatures. We all lose a lot more than just fluids throughout the day, we also lose essential minerals called electrolytes.

How Electrolytes Help With Hydration

Electrolytes are minerals that carry a small electric charge when dissolved in fluids. They essentially create the microscopic pulses powering life. The list of important electrolytes starts with:

  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Chlorine
  • Phosphorus (binds with oxygens and hydrogens in a phosphate molecule)
  • Carbonates

The first four each bond with chlorine to become electrolyte salts: sodium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, and calcium chloride. These electrolytes perform important biological and chemical functions in both plants and animals.

  • In plants, electrolytes help regulate internal water pressure, produce chlorophyll, form cell walls/plant tissues, and help protect the plant from cold, drought, and disease.
  • In animals, electrolytes regulate the balance of fluid in and out of cells, power central nervous function, balance pH levels, and regulate blood pressure.

What do electrolytes do for animals and plants

Electrolytes need to be replenished every day, but are absolutely critical as the heat index increases (what temperatures really feel like combined with humidity). Let’s take a closer look at how to properly use electrolytes for you, your animals, soil, and plants for a healthy summer.

Electrolytes for You

Did you know?...It can only take 2 hours of working outside in the summer before early dehydration symptoms begin and you need to replenish your electrolytes. Dehydration sets in under 2 circumstances:

  • Fluid loss is greater than fluid intake
  • Electrolyte imbalance or deficiency

Common Dehydration Symptoms

Early signs of dehydration include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Muscle cramping 

Thankfully, these symptoms can sometimes improve in around 5-10 minutes if you increase your fluid and electrolytes right away. Electrolyte salts enter the bloodstream immediately upon intake, which is why salt is the strongest craving around; the biological feedback is instant! If you don’t take steps to hydrate and replenish electrolytes right away, severe dehydration can set in. Severe dehydration symptoms include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fast and irregular heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Confusion

Severe dehydration requires immediate treatment by a doctor, so make sure you take care of yourself before those symptoms begin. Taking electrolytes with you while working outside is the best way to replenish quickly.

Choosing the Right Electrolyte Drink

There are so many electrolyte mixes and drinks out there, and choosing the right one can feel daunting if you don’t know what to look for. Here are some tips for picking the best electrolyte hydration:

  • Avoid sugars: sugars can sometimes worsen dehydration symptoms and do not address the core problem (which is electrolyte imbalance)
  • Look for balanced electrolytes: read the ingredients to make sure you are getting more than just sodium. Look for magnesium, potassium, calcium, chlorides, and carbonates for a balanced electrolyte spectrum.      

Redmond Re-Lyte®

The ancient sea mineral deposit in central Utah is nature’s perfect source of electrolytes sodium and chloride, and forms the foundation for a wide variety of Redmond products. We developed Re-Lyte®  Hydration with a team of healthcare experts to create a hydration mix you can feel good about drinking everyday. With zero calories, no added sugar, and a balanced ratio of electrolytes, Re-Lyte is the perfect hydration tool for working your land. But don’t just take our word for it, our friends at Snohomish Hay and Cattle love using Re-Lyte on the farmstead:

We hear from customers all the time, that Re-Lyte is the best drink for working in the heat:

Life saving hydration…not only do I think this pre/post workout with noticeable performance increase, but this has gotten me through many 30+ mile rides in the Texas summer heat. Customer for life!” -Tyler D.

“I live in TN, love to garden & sweat A LOT. Last summer I didn’t feel good after working outside, thought about electrolytes but never got around to ordering. This summer with the Re-Lyte, (while the heat, humidity & sweating are not pleasant), I feel fine at the end of whatever project.” -Kim K.

“So refreshing, such good flavors and a good pick-me-up when I am ready to rest after taking a hike, gardening, or lawn work. It also cools me off.” -Jane B.

“My fiancé and I both started using Re-Lyte, and within two days, we were shocked at how much better we felt. He works in construction, and it is HOT in Oklahoma in summer; he says he feels stronger and less fatigued. I have felt like I had more stamina in my workouts.” -Allie P.

Electrolytes for Your Farm Animals

Everyone knows animals need salt supplements, especially since forages are naturally low in salt. However, not all salt is created equal. White salt blocks typically only offer sodium chloride and will not give your animals the balanced electrolytes they need. Supplements with a broader profile of electrolytes and trace minerals give your animals more to help fight off dehydration.  

Dehydration Symptoms in Farm Animals

Cattle: Dry membranes (mouth, eyes, and nose), weight loss, lethargy, tight skin/hide, sunken eyes, stopped milk production (in dairy cows)

Calves: (Scours) diarrhea, weakness, sunken eyes, inability to stand, cool extremities. Dehydration death can happen very quickly in calves. Skin tenting is a quick and easy method to measure severity. Pinch a fold of skin and see how long it takes to flatten (<2 seconds = healthy hydration, 2-6 seconds = mild dehydration, >6 seconds = severe dehydration)

Goats: Lower body temperature, weakness, sunken eyes, dry membranes (mouth, eyes, and nose)

Sheep: Lethargy or agitation, sunken eyes, dry membranes (mouth, eyes, and nose)

Poultry: Pale combs/wattles, limpness, labored breathing/panting

Pigs: Skin irritation, disorientation, constipation

Horses: Tires easily, muscle spasms, weight loss, decreased skin elasticity, stops sweating

Balanced Electrolytes for Farm Animals

Redmond’s ancient sea deposit naturally contains a full spectrum of sea minerals including a delicious blend of 4 electrolyte salts. When combined with our rich, volcanic Redmond Conditioner, Redmond minerals can offer your animals the perfect elixir for beating summer heat.

Balanced electrolytes for farm animals

Adult Ruminants: For bison, cattle, goats and sheep, offer 1 part Redmond Conditioner and 2-3 parts Redmond mineral salts for their respective species.

Newborn Ruminants: For newborn calves, kids, and lambs, mix Redmond First Month directly into their bottle feedings of milk, colostrum, or your preferred replacer. Redmond First Month contains life saving electrolytes, probiotics, and clay supplements that have been independently proven to reduce calf death losses by around 63%. Newborn calves should get 4 ounces total per day divided between feedings; lambs and kids should get 2 ounces total per day divided between feedings.

Other Livestock: For poultry and pigs, dissolve 1 part Redmond Conditioner and 1 part Redmond mineral salts in 1 gallon of water. (Reduce salts when using pre-manufactured feed already containing salt).

Horses: Average sized horses should get 2 ounces of Redmond Daily Red loose minerals (adjust dose according to size and weight), free access to Redmond Rock, and an Electrolyte syringe (for hot weather, strenuous activity, or travel) . Click to learn more about electrolytes for horses from Redmond Equine.  

Other Livestock Hydration Tips

Add sodium bentonite to their feed: Animals naturally decrease their feed intake in hotter temperatures, and for cattle, sheep, and goats this can cause a buildup of acid in their rumen. Offering a sodium bentonite buffer to their rations will stabilize their ruminal pH, and help keep their digestion moving during the hot summer months.

Monitor watering stations: Most animals do not like to drink from hot water sources. Keep water stations clean, filled and shaded to encourage them to drink enough. Add water sites if needed, especially if you have water bullies in your herds.

Electrolytes for Your Soil

Feeding your soil measured amounts of electrolytes wakes up and energizes an important food web your plants need for survival. This underground network of animals, protozoa, bacteria, and fungi break down atmospheric nitrogen and other nutrients into forms that your plants can actually use. Without these helpers, macro and micro nutrients remain locked up in molecules that are not biologically available to plants. Basically, dead soil = dead plants. Amending with sea minerals boosts the electrical conductivity (EC) of your soil, creating a measurable electric highway through which nutrients can move around and be delivered to plant roots.

Soil and plants need electrolytes

By feeding electrolytes to your soil, you are also giving electrolytes to your plants. Plants need electrolytes just as much as animals even though their jobs here are a little different.

Potassium:

  • Synthesizes important proteins and enzymes
  • Forms and transports sugars and starches
  • Increases resistance to cold, drought, and disease in many plants

Calcium:

  • Builds cell walls and plant tissues

Magnesium:

  • Produces chlorophyll (which is crucial for photosynthesis)

Sodium and Chlorine:

  • Regulate the plant’s internal water pressure

Phosphorus:

  • A macro-nutrient (needed in greater amounts) that forms adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is the major energy unit in plant cells

Redmond has taken all the guesswork out of how to apply electrolytes to your soil. Our Mineralyte family of products have a rich blend of sea minerals, bioavailable humates, plus volcanic minerals. Test your soil first, then select either Foundation, Build, or Grow to meet your soil’s needs. Mineralyte will wake up the biology of your soil, and help you grow healthier, more nutrient dense plants.

Electrolytes for soil and plant health

Since 1958, Redmond has been proud to share this unique resource with you, your animals, and your land. Give Redmond a call today at 866-709-3192 to see what we can do to help you and your farm thrive!

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