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News Release

Reliable Livestock Water

Providing a reliable water source is critical to a livestock operation. 
Focus Resource Concern for February 2012

PHOENIX, Feb. 14, 2012 Providing livestock easy access to a reliable source of clean, fresh water at all times is necessary in order for a livestock operation to be productive. NRCS has several stockwater system practices that are designed to efficiently provide reliable water to livestock and wildlife and successfully allow for the implementation of a grazing management system. The benefits of supplying adequate watering facilities for livestock can be: improved livestock distribution to take advantage of available forage in remote areas, improved livestock health and production and providing for an improvement in vegetation and soil conditions in uplands and streams, rivers and ponds.

One important factor to consider when installing a new water source is the distance livestock have to travel to drink. Water needs to be delivered to the areas where livestock are grazing or where it is desirable to have the livestock located, rather than requiring livestock to travel long distances to drink. Requiring livestock to travel too far can result in animal stress and reduced productivity. In some instances the water source, such as a well or spring, is not always the best location for livestock to drink. A stockwater system may need to provide water to multiple locations by use of a pipeline and troughs in order to cut down on livestock travel. Livestock water locations need to be closer to grazing areas in steep, rough terrain, whereas, livestock can travel longer distances without exerting as much energy in relatively flat country.

Another important factor to consider when installing a new water source is the supply rate and the quantity of water necessary to support the livestock. The number of livestock that will use the water source and the daily water requirements for those livestock need to be considered. Factors that affect daily livestock water requirements are: temperature, season of use, distance to water, type of animal, topography, etc. Water sources that have low flow rates may need to have larger storage capacity in order to support larger numbers of livestock or longer periods of time. The water supply needs to be designed to take into account extenuating circumstances including unusually hot, dry weather, and the time required to repair the water source if not functioning properly.

The quality of the water is also an important factor that needs to be considered. Livestock will be less likely to drink adequate quantities of poor quality water due to contamination or poor taste and can become stressed which ultimately affects production.

NRCS practices that are designed to provide reliable water for livestock and/or wildlife includes:

  • Water Well

  • Dam

  • Pipeline

  • Pond

  • Pond Sealing or Lining

  • Pumping Plant for Water Control

  • Spring Development

  • Trough or Tank

  • Water Harvesting Catchment

Be sure to properly maintain all water sources to ensure quality water is provided to livestock and wildlife by:

  • keeping tanks and troughs clean of debris and sediment

  • ensuring all facilities, pipelines and valves are in good working order

  • draining tanks and water lines in the winter where freezing temperatures can cause damage

The Anvil Ranch, ranching for generations.

Looking to the Past to Better Conserve the Future:  The Anvil Ranch – Ranching for Generations

The Anvil Ranch dates back to the 1890’s.  Owners John and Pat King share with pride the history and legacy the ranch has carried for four generations.  “The long term history of the ranch is interesting and carries great value,” said Joe King, youngest of John and Pat King’s children and fourth generation rancher.  “We know what the ranch was like before us and what it is capable of being. Ranching is what we do.  I don’t know any other way.” ...