Living in Southwest Saskatchewan we are usually short of water by mid-August. Hence, we rely on solar water pumps to bring the water up to a trough for the cattle. These systems needs to be checked daily.
How do they work?
A water pump is power by solar panels and when the float signals that the trough is low on water it is activated. In many cases, this allows us to fence out the water source. Providing cool, clean water in a trough. According to Cows and Fish, when given a choice, cattle will drink from a trough eight times out of ten, even if they have access to surface water. In addition, clean water produced 23% greater weight gains for yearlings compared with direct access to dugouts or ponds, where their feet can stir up the water. Pumping water to a trough from a dugout, like we do, produced 3% greater weight gains. So even though water quality does not change much, livestock perform better with cleaner water!
What is the back-up plan?
In the fields where the yearlings only have access to a trough we check daily. But in some situations we have troughs for cows but they still have access to other sources of water. As noted above, cows will choose to drink out of a trough even with access to a creek. This reduces the impact on the riparian area without needing to fence it off.
Make sure you keep hydrated on these summer days! Happy Drinking!