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Winter water ideas

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Aaron

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Need some winter watering set-up ideas for remote locations. Drought this past year really buggered up grazing plans, so some investment is needed this year on the water side.

All possible locations have no hydro or existing well/pressure system and I would like all to be designed to function winter and summer, so built basically on winter standards (-40C). Up to this point, in summer, cows have had full access to dugouts or been supplied with a gas pump to a 300 gallon tank (not one of my fondest daily chores).

Any preference to a certain system? Insulated trough or frost-free nose pumps? Any power would have to be solar. Too many trees for good wind and not enough roll in the land for gravity systems.

I've got a track-hoe operator that works cheap ($75/hour), so trenching and digging ponds bigger is not an issue.
 

cowsense

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Probable least cost setup is a wetwell adjacent to a water source (dugout etc.) with frost free nose pumps set on top. Solar setups can work in conjunction with insulated troughs or Thermosink type bowls.....but you can get to a pretty significant investment to have a system that has winter time capacity. However solar panels & pump can be designed as a portable unit that can be moved from site to site.
 

RSL

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Capacity is a big one. The frost free pumps are great but don't handle hundreds of livestock. When you start getting #'s up then you are talking about 2 or 3 pumps and the costs come into line with solar.
Solar/wind hybrids work pretty well, and you can use the pump in the summer too. Don't spend the $ on the fancy troughs. You can build one cheaper. We are thinking of putting in a thermosink and replacing the float with a pump switch and then using the solar pump year round.
 

lefty

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The neatest & cheapest waterer I ever saw was a spring coming out of an ash swamp . The rancher cut a ditch & burried a 16 inch pvc pipe along the ground with the top third cut off for about 2o ft. there was enough flow & pitch to the spring that the water ran down into a valley ..the only place the cattle could get to the water was in the pipe .
you cant build that just anywhere , but it sure worked good there .
 

George

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I don't know how it would work in colder climates but if you have a pond that you can give partial access to you can get a wind mill that pumps air in to keep the weeds down and the fish growing.

Most of the year you want the output of air to be in the middle of the pond at the bottom.

During the winter bring the outlet to where you want the cattle to water ( still on the bottom ). I know it is cold air being pumped but that will be the last place to freeze and the first to thaw - - -most winters here it will not freeze there all winter.
 

Silver

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George said:
I don't know how it would work in colder climates but if you have a pond that you can give partial access to you can get a wind mill that pumps air in to keep the weeds down and the fish growing.

Most of the year you want the output of air to be in the middle of the pond at the bottom.

During the winter bring the outlet to where you want the cattle to water ( still on the bottom ). I know it is cold air being pumped but that will be the last place to freeze and the first to thaw - - -most winters here it will not freeze there all winter.

Might work if you could fashion something to keep the cattle off the ice, if you couldn't you'd have a pond full of dead cattle, and in my experience that's not a lot of fun. Air will keep an open spot in the ice even here.

The best way I've seen is to have a big pipe in the ground gravity fed from a dugout with the level in it controlled by a float. At the top of the pipe you set the bowl. A sump pump will deliver the water from down in the pipe up through the bottom of the bowl. If the sump pump is solar powered and is triggered by a motion sensor, the bowl fills as cattle approach, and the water drains back through the pump when they step away. Overflow holes cut higher up in the bowl will allow water to fall back to the sump in the case of overfilling. No heat required, and it doesn't take much power to run the pump.
I've seen them store bought, but sure would be simple to make.
 

George

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We set two treated post about 8' apart about 5' out in the pond, laid some sections of broken sidewalks ( upside down ) on the bottom and out on the bank then treated 2X6 fence so the cattle could not go in the pond ( rest of the pond has electric fence.)

Cattle water there year round and the concrete keeps them from slipping as the bottom side was fairly rough so they do not push mud into the pond.

This year we have not had ice more than a couple of days and not much of it at all.

What gave me the idea was the pump was to clear weeds and algae ( works great ) and the area where the bubbles came up stayed clear and a local reservoir uses air bubbles around the boats left in the water over winter to keep the area around them from freezing.

Our local Rural King sells a 20’ windmill with the compressor and tubing for about $1,000.00 Can be set up by two people in about 2 hours then drive rebar anchor stakes thru all 4 legs. They have taller models but the 20’ seems fine here - - - about a 6’ diameter set of blades and will pump in a gentle breeze - - - has an automatic over run feature. Will really boil the water in about a 10mph wind. The pond we have it set up on is about 1 acre and is about 13’ deep in the middle ( that is where the air diffuser is most of the year ) - - - before the wind mill it would cover with moss and algae and the fish were very slow to grow and would not bite. Now the pond stays clear without chemicals and the fish are thriving and the grand children love fishing here as the fish are very active and bite easily.

Cattle only have access to the small restricted area.

The tubing supplied tries to float so I cut junk water pile in about 3” lengths and slid the tubing thru to weigh it to the bottom. I have a small SS chain on the diffuser with a float that is about 1’ below the surface ( normally can’t be seen ) so in the fall I can get in a row boat and lift the diffuser to move it then put it back in the spring..
 

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