On our 700 acres we use a variety of water sources, including ponds and tire watering tanks. We protect water quality through limited access to ponds. Tire watering tanks are a great way to reuse tires, and work well in paddocks.

Cattle need access to clean water – as much as 30 gallons per head per day (for a lactating beef cow in hot weather).

Cattle graze more efficiently when they have water close by.  The farther they have to walk to water, the less time they can spend grazing.  Once the distance to water passes 800 feet, grazing efficiency falls off sharply:


 Source: Green, M. Layout and design of grazing systems.

So, a good rotational grazing system keeps water within 800 feet of cattle in all paddocks.





Access to water can be improved by careful layout of paddocks and installing watering pumps, lines, and tanks.










The Kerr Ranch uses gravity flow watering and water tanks made from old tractor tires.

Publications Related to Livestock Watering

  • Alternative Livestock Watering Systems

    This University of Tennessee Extension publication discusses the benefits of excluding livestock from streams, and the resultant need to develop alternative means of watering livestock.  It reviews the pros and cons of several such alternative…

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  • Clear Cool Water: Livestock Watering Workshop

    The importance of making adequate, clean water available to cattle year-round was the focus of the Kerr Center’s Water and Livestock Workshop on Saturday, June 11. Folks from Oklahoma and Arkansas listened to experts from the center and OSU Cooperative Extension explore water quality and ways to keep water clean on a working ranch.

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  • Grazing Management Basics

    Presentation by Will Lathrop for the October 2015 grazing workshop; covers grazing systems and their benefits, grazing terms and calculations, pasture design, and grazing strategies.

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  • Grazing Workshop Recap

    It began more with a zap than a bang: a zap that left around a thousand people in the Poteau area without power on a Saturday morning. Still, the Kerr Center livestock program practices the…

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  • Livestock Watering Systems, Riparian Areas, and Pond Maintenance

    This presentation by David Redhage discusses practical considerations for fencing livestock out of streams, laying out watering systems for rotational grazing, setting up siphon systems for gravity-fed watering from ponds, and protecting stream crossings and…

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  • Livestock Workshop Recap

    The livestock workshop at the Kerr Ranch on June 4, 2016, was a highly educational and informative event. For those unable to attend – or for those who did but would like a refresher –…

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  • New Use for Old Tires

    This is a fact sheet describing the process used at the Kerr Center to convert old tractor tires into watering tanks for livestock.

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  • Organic Before Organic Was Cool: Oklahoma Rancher Raises Profits on Pasture

    This article, from the summer 2004 issue of Field Notes, profiles Oklahoma rancher Walt Davis, who switched to low-input rotational grazing to reduce costs, only to find his pastures diversifying and his operation qualifying for…

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  • Protecting Water Quality While Healing Erosion Caused by Livestock Trails

    This is a fact sheet based on a 1998 Oklahoma Producer Grant to Kim Barker for installing watering lines to paddocks in his rotational grazing system. It includes a farm/ranch profile, project objectives, project description…

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  • Ranch Management Practices to Improve Water Quality

    This fact sheet describes the Oklahoma Producer Grant project of rancher Tom Gunn, who undertook several practices – including permanent sod, limited-access watering points, and buffer strips – to improve water quality in his pond.

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