Grazing Systems Mandate a Reliable Water Source for Lasting Sustainabiliy

Planned paddocks, good fencing, improved forages, grazing management, pasture fertility, and livestock genetics are very important elements when maximising a grazing process.

Water distribution, however, is arguably amongst the absolute most important factors of pasture-based livestock systems.

Pasture water supply needs vary accordinged to livestock species, presence of electric, soils, water system needed, and travel distance to water. Water systems should be developed based upon individual farm resources, as each farm is distinct.

Spring development

In southern and eastern Ohio, spring systems are one of the most often developed water resources and can provide sufficient, affordable, low maintenance water systems.

Water quality and quantity are big considerations when creating a spring. The first question to answer concerning spring development: Is this site actually worth developing?

If a spring is not running in July and August, it may be an alternate spring and would have reduced production. Creating sufficient storage capacity for a poor-producing spring may be expensive.

When possible, aim to establish springs at high elevations, which will allow the spring to gravity flow to lower tanks, possibly delivering water to protection plenty of paddocks.

Watertank Alternatives

There are numerous water tank options, whether pressurized or gravity systems. The proper tank to use depends on the livestock species and the time of year you want to provide water.

You can find tips for planning travel distance to water but in general, less proximity to water equals far better pasture use and less reserve volume needed in the watertank. Normally we set a goal of 600 feet or less to water and less is best.

Used, heavy, earth-moving tyres are routinely used as watertanks and can be relatively inexpensive and freeze resistant.

Plan ahead

Outline the livestock rotation method identifying the locations of the farm where freeze-proof systems will be required.

Winter water supply can vary in susceptibility to freeze. Many frost-free waterers use geothermal energy to help keep the system from freezing and the resistance to freeze differs in each.

Water systems should really have the ability to be drained, with lines that can be easily shut down.

If concerned about the quality of the water, have it tested. The local OSU Extension office can provide laboratories efficient in analyzing livestock water.

Cost to establish a spring will differ and can stretch from $2,500 to $3,000 per spring or more, being dependent on the tank choice.

Using a pond

Ponds are regularly used as a supply for livestock water where there are no springs.

Livestock business owners like ponds as a watering origin partially because they also have a recreational use value and can provide ample water any time of year. However, soils, drainage and price can limit the practicality of ponds.

We have a number of examples of badly built ponds that don't hold water due to impediments in soil resources, and we have ponds with inadequate dike and overflow designs that become significantly damaged in rain events.

If you feel a pond is what you really need, speak to the local Soil and Water Conservation office for assistance.

Inhibit livestock

Ponds may be completely partitioned from livestock and piping used to provide water. The most ideal water in a pond is located near the center and about 2 feet below the surface.

Giving livestock unlimited availability to ponds and streams can cause bank erosion and water quality issues. For streams and ponds, look at developing limited water access points making use of fencing, geotextile fabric and stone.

As with springs, water quality might be an issue when using ponds and streams.

Plan your water distribution systems coupled with paddock development so that multiple paddocks will have access to one water supply.

Visit other farms

The most effective advice in developing rain water tanks your water is to explore farms that have well-planned systems.

When observing various farm systems, focus on shut-off locations, tank valve systems, overflow construction, paddock use and ground stabilization around the tanks.

It is costly to build a water system twice. Take your time, do the research, keep it practical and economical, view examples and set down with the folks at NRCS and plan the system.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *