Friday, October 24, 2014

Managing Drought Risk on the Ranch

Inventorying and Monitoring Water Resources

Wells/pipelines - condition and ability to pump

Resources / Tools

Monitoring Your Well(Agriculture Canada)

Measuring Well Water Levels (Oregon State)

Livestock producers know that a reliable water supply is an essential part of a successful farm operation. In times of drought when the surface water dries up, groundwater supplies become even more important. But if you can't see what is going on, how can you be sure that all is well with your well? (Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)


Stock Dams

Resource

Estimating water in stock dams (Australia)

Farms that rely mainly on stock dams as the primary source of water with limited options for supplementation from wells face risk of water shortage during drought.  If you do rely on stock dams as your primary water source, it is critical to estimate stock water needs on a daily basis and work out what supply is currently in storage and whether this amount will see you through dry seasons. (Reference:  SW Victoria Drought Response)


Quality of Water

 

Water sources should be tested annually at the beginning of the summer to identify potential problems and to assess the quality of each source.

Water samples can be sent to a number of testing labs to determine quality. Your county extension office is a good place to learn more about testing water sources.

Commonly reported measures of water quality include total dissolved solids (TDS), as well as sulfates. Water with TDS concentrations greater than 10,000 parts per million can result in death. (reference NDSU Water Quality

Recommendations for livestock water use based on Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). (reference NDSU Livestock & Water)


Blue Green Algae Poisoning

“Scums” of blue-green algae may occur in stagnant ponds or dugouts following hot, dry, calm days. Animals may die suddenly (within minutes) after drinking water heavily contaminated with this scum. (Source: SDSU Extension, Blue Green Algae Poisoning)

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