Water

Any questions or comments you have about Natural Sequence Farming processes. These could include general questions or ones about your personal problems.

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Phil
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 1:58 am

Water

Postby Phil » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:52 am

Hi to all,

First time visit here and a great read of your collective contributions.

Read both books and had the pleasure of attending one of the field days near Bungendore with 7 mates. By cripes the sandwiches were great. Thanks for the spread Peter.
Of particular interest at the filed day was the dramatic change shown in reconstructing a creek. The "before" photograph on the star picket looked just like our eroded creek-bed. Standing within the creek, I need to look up to find the top of the bank perhaps some 12-15 feet above the base. We have since started placing rocks across the creek in feeble attempts to slow the flow when the rains actually do arrive. When dollars return, the big gun excavators are planned to reconstruct. This leads me to my observations and open questions et al. I implore you of your comments and ideas.

Imagine livestock not just surviving through a drought, but doing well. Imagine harnessing not just silage, but also water in great volume during the good times to cover the not so good times. I am picturing inground tanks for the purpose of sharing with all among the district, regardless of which property the rain may fall. The purpose of inground too being that the water temp is reduced and containment even with plastic tanks may be retained during a bushfire, sans the lid! .. yet cheaper than concrete.

The question however is in how long water can be contained for stock use. I understand that the chemical nature of water may remain forever, yet I have been warned of pathogens. What the hell are pathogens? Are they a problem for livestock when I don't need the water to be potable for human consumption?

Also, placement of tanks on high ground may be great for gravity-fed troughs below, yet what of the energy, fuel and cost of pumping UP to these tanks?

Your thoughts?

Kind regards to all,

Phil

sceptic
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:17 pm

Re: Water

Postby sceptic » Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:46 am

Easy question first, a pathogen is any disease causing organism, it could be bacteria, virus, fungus whatever. They are a problem for livestock and are generally an issue when stock are watering in streams (given that the first thing cattle do when they walk into a stream is to have a leak or a crap it's quite an easy way to spread infection) or are in a paddock too long (eating around there own and other animals crap for far too long means it's more likely they'll pick up diseases). While your cattle may not look unhealthy or sick they won't be performing as well as they should, the solution is off stream watering (or alternately limiting where they water in streams and how long they stay there - if you make it a relatively small spot they can water from other cattle will push out those that just want to stand in the stream all day) and giving your paddocks a decent rest.

How long can water be stored for? How long is a piece of string? Provided it goes in relatively clean and you allow it to, well, "breathe" then the answer is quite a while. I've got around 18 months to 2 years supply of water stored at my house, I do have a filter but that's more to protect the pump. What happens in water tanks is you get a build up of what is known as "biofilm" this is essentially an algae that builds up around the inside of the tank, this algae absorbs any nutrients that come in and keep the water oxygenated, a natural water purification system (though if there's too many nutrients coming in then you could get a build up of cyanobacteria - or blue green algae - though this does require certain combinations of nitrogen, phosphorus and heat).

So, long term storage isn't an issue but how much do you want/need to store? In summer cattle need about 10 gallons (44 litres) per head per day of water (according to a grazier I know who has around 10 000 head and was putting in an off stream watering system, as you can imagine he really had to get his calculations right), winter I'm guessing half that (though it depends on where you are) 5 gallons or 22 litres. Taking an average across the year of 30 litres per head per day, for one years water you need roughly 10 000 litres of storage capacity, the cost of tanks around here average about 10c/l of storage so it'd be $1000 for a tank to store water for one animal, $10 000 for 10, $100 000 for 100 (though you would get some benefit from economies of scale) then there's your distribution and watering setup. Economically it doesn't make sense to do that (at least not for that long), the cost of setup plus the cost of feed is going to be quite high, a couple of months worth of storage and be prepared to sell if it looks like an extended dry period would make more sense.

As for pumping water, solar's quite popular, a few people still use hydraulic rams but solar can be set up to look after itself but the higher you pump the more energy you need and the stronger the pipes you will need too. Talk to your local irrigation specialist they'll be able to point you in the right direction.

Meat & Livestock Association has some good info on stock management (haven't found much on watering but it's bound to be in there somewhere) http://www.mla.com.au/Home
The truth is out there.


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