Solar powered livestock watering provides benefits

Rather than only keeping with traditional direct pasture water systems for livestock, farmers are turning to options such as solar-power.

Rather than only keeping with traditional direct pasture water systems for livestock, farmers are turning to options such as solar-powered pumping systems to better ensure the health of their herd and protect water sources from environmental damage.

According to the Government of Alberta’s Agri-Facts, herd health problems related to direct watering includes foot rot, leg injuries, stress, death from drowning or being stuck in the mud, reduced rates of gain, blue-green algae toxins and increased exposure to water transmitted diseases, bacteria and cyst infections.

Environmental issues with direct watering includes loss of water storage in dugouts and streams, damage to banks, rapid growth of weeds and algae, deterioration of water quality, and loss of riparian areas, vegetation, root systems and pastureland.

One such solar-powered system was developed by Kelln Solar; Kelln Solar distributor Randy Robb says the systems are customizable for farmers’ different needs, providing benefits beyond environmental care and herd health.

The system operates via a solar panel attached to a pump located in either the well or dugout. A float switch in the stock tank which also has customizable features including water level detection and an alert time delay—measures the water levels and relays to the system when the tank needs more water.

Any time the water gets too low, if there is something wrong with the system or the pump turns on a cellular alert is sent to the farmer either by call or text. The feature is a time saver, especially for those who pasture cattle away from their residence.

The lines of communication are two-way and operators are able to have control over their system via cell phone. “You can just text it and say ‘start my pump’,” said Kelln Solar representative Andy Robb.

“It depends on how much information you want out of it,” added Randy.

The cell system becomes a challenge for those living in more remote areas without reliable cell service. Randy says at that point farmers may have to look at satellite systems, which are more expensive.

With the cost of solar power panels decreasing Randy encourages farmers investing in solar power to oversize their systems to catch optimal solar energy.

Funding is available through the Growing Forward 2 On-Farm Stewardship Program. “It covers 50 per cent of your cost of year-round or summer watering systems (up to $30,000),” said Kim Barkwell, sustainable agriculture program manager for the counties of Wetaskiwin and Leduc.

“You need to have your environmental farm plan,” she added.

The On-Farm Stewardship Program funding includes: portable water systems, water storage, heat tape and heated waterers,frost-free nose pumps, pumping systems, power sources, plumping materials, pipelines, applicant’s equipment use and labour.

Ineligible costs include: generators, watering systems in farmyards or corrals, portable feed bunks, portable livestock corral panels and pump houses.

A few remaining items may be available for cost-share under the Growing Forward Water Management Program; water sources such as new dugouts or wells, dugout aeration systems, waterlines below frost level in a farm yard.

 

Just Posted

Council supports cost of living increase

Rimbey’s interim budget shows slight increase

Academic excellence achieved

Rimbey high school students do well

Snow expected within the next 24 hours

Snowfall expected in Rimbey and area

Fashion Fridays: Ethical and sustainable gifts for the season

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Proposed health care changes would be “devastating” to rural family practice: president of AMA

AHS, AMA and MLA Ron Orr chime in on recent health care announcements

Man accused in toddler son’s death inept parent, not murderer: defence

Toddler’s body was found outside Good Shepherd Anglican Church in April 2017

Job numbers disappointing, but oil and gas growth expected in 2020: Kenney

Unemployment rate in Alberta rose to 7.2 per cent from 6.7 per cent last month

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Feds approve Alberta’s carbon tax on big industrial emitters

Tax will be applied on 10 per cent of emissions produced by the province’s biggest polluters

Appeal denied: Alberta’s top court upholds conviction of triple-murderer

Douglas Garland was convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of a couple and their grandson

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Most Read