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.

Watch these videos to learn how to prepare and install them.

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.

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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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  • Forage Strategies for Small Acreages

    This presentation by Chris Rice, from the Oklahoma Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program, discusses the management of forage for grazing animals on the small acreages typical of many Oklahoma farms. It uses the example of…

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  • Gravity Flow Watering from Ponds

    One key point of the Kerr Center livestock program’s approach to water management is, as much as possible, to take the water to the cattle in the pasture. This allows cattle to make more efficient…

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  • Grazing Management Basics

    This presentation 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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  • Livestock Workshop Recap – June 2018

    Fifteen participants absorbed a concentrated dose of education on sustainable livestock management at the Kerr Center’s grazing workshop on June 9, 2018.  The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma sponsored the workshop. This summary of the workshop…

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  • New Use for Old Tires

    This fact sheet explains why the Kerr Center livestock program uses old tires from heavy equipment as watering tanks, and describes the process of preparing and installing them.

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