I think every grazer would agree that the ideal watering system is the one that requires the least amount of maintenance, and has the least number of things that can fail. We came across this innovative setup at Chistoph Weder’s Spirit River Ranch near Rycroft, Alberta. Christoph and Erika took advantage of a centrally located dugout and a nearby hill to create an elevated reservoir that gravity feeds down to a tractor tire watering trough.
Materials and Tools
- Gas powered water pump
- Water lines
- Excavated reservoir or large water tank
- Float valve (large diameter, low pressure valve)
- Water trough or tractor tire
Step 1 – Set up an elevated reservoir
If your pasture has a dugout, you can create a reservoir on top of the existing berm by setting up a large tank on a stand, or by digging a small reservoir right into the berm itself if its elevation is high enough. If there’s no dugout you can still use a gravity feed system by building a reservoir on top of an existing hill or high point in your pasture.
Step 2 – Fill the reservoir
If you have a dugout close enough, use a gas powered pump to fill up your reservoir. If you’re setting up a reservoir for a gravity system but don’t have a well or dugout for a water source, you can always bring in a water truck to fill up the reservoir a few times each year.
Step 3 – Syphon into the Watering Trough
To start syphoning water from the reservoir into the watering trough, use the same gas powered pump you used to fill the reservoir to push water into the pipe to get the syphon started. Once it’s flowing you won’t need the pump and it can slowly flow from the reservoir down to the watering site. A cheap and simple float valve shutoff system should be installed at the watering trough to automatically stop filling the trough once it’s full, and automatically start syphoning again when the water level gets low.