You've reached the Virginia Cooperative Extension Newsletter Archive. These files cover more than ten years of newsletters posted on our old website (through April/May 2009), and are provided for historical purposes only. As such, they may contain out-of-date references and broken links.

To see our latest newsletters and current information, visit our website at

Newsletter Archive index:

Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Cow Manure Can Be a Source of E. Coli

Dairy Pipeline: September 2000

Gerald M. (Jerry) Jones
Extension Dairy Scientist, Milk Quality and Milking Management
Virginia Tech
(540) 231-4764

This can cause mastitis but also has potential to cause water pollution and thereby create illness in humans. In a report published in the Journal of Dairy Science, EPA scientists collected drinking water from two dairy farms and inoculated them with E. coli isolates from dairy cattle and with a manure inoculum obtained from the farms. Bottles of inoculated water were incubated at 41 and 59ºF for 16 days. Although pathogenic organisms persisted throughout the 16 days in water from one farm, elevated counts were detected for at least 4 days from both farms and were consistently higher at the lower temperature. The results indicate that "cattle drinking water may play a role in the transmission of E. coli 0157:H7 in dairy cattle," and E. coli may survive in both drinking water and manure for up to several weeks. Since manure may contaminate drinking waterers, cleaning them on a regular schedule (every 1-2 weeks) is highly recommended. -- Gerald M. (Jerry) Jones Extension Dairy Scientist, Milk Quality & Milking Management 540/231-4764 email:

Visit Virginia Cooperative Extension