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How to Get Water to Livestock in a Rotational Grazing System

By   /  June 25, 2018  /  Comments Off on How to Get Water to Livestock in a Rotational Grazing System

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If there’s no water in a pasture, it doesn’t matter how much grass it has. Here are examples from your fellow farmers and ranchers of how they put water where they needed it, drawn from a 2014 issue of On Pasture.

Getting water to livestock in pasture can be a challenge and farmers and ranchers have come up with all kinds of systems to get the job done.  Since two (or more) heads are better than one, we thought we’d share some solutions from your fellow graziers over the next few months.  Please feel free to add to the conversation by describing your successes (or failures) below, or how you might adapt these examples for your place.  Got a video?  Get in touch and we’ll share it with your On Pasture Community.

Hidden-Vue Farm’s Watering System

This certified organic, 550 acre farm near Lake Superior in Wisconsin has been in the Nortenun family for over 100 years.  The raise organic, grass-fed, Red Devon cross cattle.  You can read more about the farm here.

Their watering system uses about 4000 feet of 1″ line with risers every 150 feet.  Quick disconnects make it easy to turn off the water, and then reconnect it at the next point.  The water troughs are made of old tires which David made.  “I started with a tire and cut out the sidewall on one side. I then measured the circumference of the bead and then had the local steel shop cut a piece of steel this size. Then I laid the steel on the bead of the tire and drilled holes through the steel and rubber and put bolts through them. Then just put silicon around the perimeter where the steel meets the rubber.”

Then he adds piping into and out of the tire trough.  “I used a 3/4″ drill bit to drill the holes and used 3/4″ pipe and it fit so snugly I had to pound the pipe in with a hammer and it never really leaked after that.”

Since Powerflex was out of the 1″ Ts when he was building his system, he used 1″ to 3/4″ reducers and a small piece of 3/4″ pipe and then connected an extra 3/4″ “T”  he had to it. He says, “It was just a workaround and now it goes directly from a 1″ pipe to the 1″ T. I had a friend who tried the new Powerflex and he doesn’t like them near as much as the older version. Hard to line up the cotter keys through the 2 holes you have to drill in the pvc post.”

Here’s a look at the system as David is moving the trough from one spot to the next.


Jericho Settlers Farm’s Simple Solution

If you live somewhere in the vicinity of Jericho, Vermont, you’d be able to buy vegetables, eggs, chicken, beef, lamb, pork and even salmon though the CSA programs offered by Jericho Settler’s Farm.  Since 2002 they’ve raised 100% grassed and finished Rotokawa Red Devon beef in partnership with their friend, Chuck Lacy.  In this video, Mark Fasching shows how they use a hose, a food grade barrel, and a Jobe Rojo Float Valve to make a simple watering system for their pastured livestock.

Do you have examples that might work for your fellow On Pasture Community members? Add you examples in the comments, or send me an email with pictures and I’ll get it out there for you!

Thanks to the National Grazing Lands Coalition for making this article possible.

The 7th National Grazing Lands Conference is coming up in December and it’s one of On Pasture’s favorites. One of the things that makes it so great is that folks just like you are the speakers, sharing their great experiences. Learn more about the event here. On Pasture will be there. Come see us!

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About the author

Publisher, Editor and Author

Kathy worked with the Bureau of Land Management for 12 years before founding Livestock for Landscapes in 2004. Her twelve years at the agency allowed her to pursue her goal of helping communities find ways to live profitably AND sustainably in their environment. She has been researching and working with livestock as a land management tool for over a decade. When she's not helping farmers, ranchers and land managers on-site, she writes articles, and books, and edits videos to help others turn their livestock into landscape managers.


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