Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Managing Drought Risk on the Ranch

Water Development Projects

Excerpt: NRCS Range and Pasture Technical Note Number MT-26 (PDF; 173 KB)
April 1979.
By Joe Zacek, Range Conservationist, SCS.

Some things to consider when planning a stockwater development:

  • What condition is the range in? Does it need more grazing or less?
  • Will the increase in production justify the cost of additional water development?
  • How will the stockwater development fit into the management system?
  • Can livestock get to the water easily? Avoid, if possible, developing stockwater along boundary fences where strange bulls may tear the fence down by fighting through it.
  • What kind of development fits the situation best?

 

"Rule of thumb" guide for spacing livestock water facilities:

Type of Terrain Travel Distance (feed to water)
Rough one-fourth to one-half mile
Rolling three-eighths to three-fourths mile
Level three-fourths to one mile

 

 

The general stock water requirements per day:

Type of Stock Daily Water Requirements
Cows 10 to 16 gallons (Cows with calves)
Sheep and goats one-half to 2 gallons
Horses 10 to 12 gallons
Elk 2 to 3 gallons
Deer one-half to 1 gallon
Antelope one-half to 1 gallon

Utilization of Range in Relations to Distance from Stockwater.

percent utilization dependent upon distance from water
This table shows that livestock utilization of range declines as the distance from water increases. For range immediately adjacent to water, utilization is 70 percent. Utilization of range 2.5 miles from water is just 10 percent. Image: Zacek, NRCS

 

Maximum Number of Cattle that Can Be Watered from Water Sources Yielding One to Seven Gallons per Minute.

Maximum Number of Cattle that Can Be Watered from Water Sources Yielding One to Seven Gallons per Minute

Adequate water storage must be provided to accumulate water for the desired number of head.

Cows with calves require 16 gallons of water per day. A well or spring yielding 1 gallon per minute could support a maximum of just over 100 head. A water source yielding 5.5 gallons per minute could support about 500 head.

Dry cows require 12 gallons per day. A well or spring yielding 1 gallon per minute could support a maximum of about 140 head. 500 head could be supported by a water source yielding about 4.2 gallons per minute.

Yearlings require 7.5 gallons per day. A well or spring yielding 1 gallon per minute could support a maximum of about 200 head. 500 head could be supported by a water source yielding about 2.4 gallons per minute. Image: Zacek, NRCS.

Contents: Water Management

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