Saturday, September 4, 2010

A cure for water quality issues?

mob grazing
mob grazingmob grazing 1
This summer is no different from last. Periods of dryness create water issues as the ponds get a little low and the cows get a lot hot. As you've seen in past posts, we've had some issues with water quality and fish kill. I have attached pics of Hal's attempt to remedy this situation. I love the idea of keeping the cattle out of the ponds, the problem is in the "how". This has some promise and Hal says the pvc one has worked well for the past 3 days. I'm concerned with it's durability but it's a good start. I was also a little concerned with the area...I'm curious of whether it's enough room for 600 head of pairs. Hal says they've established a pecking order and everything seems to be getting to water. We'll see.

There is lots of info out there about watering systems for mob grazing and quite frankly, I don't think they're realistic for large groups of cattle. Fencing cattle out of ponds and setting up gravity flow concrete waterers sounds cool until you start to put a pencil to it. We'd need several hundred of these setups with multiple waterers per's just not practical. We do need to do a better job of limiting cattle access to the ponds we have, though, and this might be a good start. Water is the most limiting factor in most mob grazing systems, get it figured out before you do anything else.

1 comment:

  1. There's another water source to check into, which is draws and gullies (seeps as well). These will give enough for several days' water for a small herd and are often found near inside wooded areas. I've fenced these inside a pasture with no other real water and the cattle did fine. Of course, you have to have standing water in them, and they won't necessarily be there in August, but the cows also like the mud in the bottom for their hooves. No fish to worry about and the frogs don't seem to mind...