Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A New Strategy for Watering the Cattle: Work Smarter, Not Harder

Our sheep and cattle are often pastured beyond the reach of a hose. This requires us to haul water to them on a regular basis, and in the case of our cattle herd, we've had to haul water four or five times a day to keep up with their consumption. We've been using our trusty Gator with four 15-gallon water tanks. It takes quite a bit of time to keep up with the demand for water this way, and means that someone always has to be around the farm, hauling water every 2-4 hours.

The Farmer wondered about getting larger tanks and doing the water runs less often. We found a few 330-gallon tanks for sale on Craigslist, and set a couple of them on a seldom-used hay wagon. We fitted them with special valves to which we could attach a garden hose. Now we fill two large tanks (each takes 50 minutes to fill) and haul water once every three days or so.

The hose is attached to a standard waterer with a float (to prevent overfilling). The water is gravity-fed from the storage tanks, and automatically keeps the waterer full as the cattle drink.

We still need to check daily to make sure that nothing has gone wrong, and to switch to the second  tank when the first one is empty. But this is going to make life a bit easier, especially in the heat of the summer when the lactating cows are really drinking a lot.

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