Watering

gravity flow watering ponds

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:

water-graph

 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.

 

water-access

 

 

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

 

 

 

cattle-at-tire-trough

 

 

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.

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Watering Systems for Cattle Ponds

This University of Arkansas Extension publication describes two methods of using ponds for watering livestock while limiting direct access: floating fences, and drawing water from ponds.

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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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Watering Systems

This is a presentation by Brian Freking from the livestock track of the Oklahoma Beginning Farmer & Rancher Program. It…
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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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