Staying Hydrated in the Field

WATER! It's the most essential of essentials. All humans, including sorghum farmers, need it to survive. The human body is made up of 60 percent water; the brain and heart, 73 percent water, and the lungs, 83 percent water.

Water is:

– The solvent for important biochemical reactions, supplying nutrients and removing waste.

– Essential for maintaining blood circulation throughout your body.

– The maintainer of body temperature. While in the sun, metabolism and internal body temperature increase.

Water Bottle in the Sun

Summer is often one of the busiest times of the year for sorghum farmers. The amount of time a farmer spends out in the heat on the farm everyday can be draining. Many farmers spend countless hours working in the summer sun, which can cause dehydration if adequate levels of water are not consumed. 

Farmers can be tempted to drink more caffeine than water, whether this be in the form of coffee or soft drinks. It is important for farmers who work in the heat to carry enough water on the tractor, combine or other easily accessible locations. Some farmers have lunch or supper brought to them while in the field, especially during harvest time. If someone brings meals to the farm frequently, request they bring an extra bottle or jug of water.

According to Lawrence E. Armstrong, a physiologist at the Human Performance Lab at the University of Connecticut, national authorities say an adult male needs about 3 quarts of fluid each day.

During the warmer months a person tends to sweat more frequently and a farmer is sometimes at a greater risk because of the manual labor required. A farmer can easily become dehydrated by not drinking enough water to replenish all the fluids lost through sweating. This can cause heat stroke and other health risks.

Heat strokes are serious and can be quite common when someone experiences long hours in the heat. Low water intake can lead to heat stroke, dehydration and even death. Water carries heat away from your internal organs before serious damage occurs.

10 Signs of Dehydration:

  1. Dark color of urine
  2. Dry mouth and lips
  3. Dry skin
  4. Headaches
  5. Dizziness
  6. Low energy levels
  7. Muscles spasms
  8. Cramps
  9. Food cravings
  10. Low or no sweat

Tips to help prevent dehydration on the farm:

  • Carry a water bottle for easy access when you are at work or running errands.
  • Fill up a cooler with water and ice for fast access to water when needed.
  • Freeze some water in freezer-safe water bottles. Take one with you for ice-cold water all day long.
  • Choose water instead of sweetened beverages for your lunch break.
  • Keep in mind that alcoholic beverages are not hydrating.

The Sorghum Checkoff cares about the health and wellness of sorghum farmers. Take action to stay hydrated during high temperatures and long days in the field and be mindful of water intake throughout each day.


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