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OFCAF Blog: “A New Way To Water: Water Buggies”

When it comes to raising livestock, it’s no surprise that access to water is an essential part of their health and wellbeing. And while watering livestock might seem as simple as providing access to a dug-out, slough, or stream, there is new technology available that provides a low-cost, clean alternative to conventional watering methods, eliminating the health risks that are associated with traditional watering methods.

Risks associated with streams, dugouts and sloughs

When livestock access streams, dugouts or sloughs for water, it comes with a few disadvantages:

  • Waterborne diseases

    • Streams and slews can sometimes contain bacteria and parasites, causing waterborne diseases in livestock—meaning lower weight gain, higher vet bills, and risk of death.

  • Inconsistent water

    • Water availability can be inconsistent when it comes to drought or dry seasons, leading to a water shortage and a decrease in productivity.

  • Warm or poor-quality water

    • Dugouts and slews are more susceptible to warm and poor-quality water, meaning your livestock is less inclined to drink, reducing productivity.

Luckily, there are ways to combat the issues associated with these water sources—that’s where water buggies come in.

A new and improved way to water

Solar-powered livestock watering systems, or “water buggies”, are mobile watering stations that provide cool, clean water right where you need it. Rather than having livestock travel to nearby dugouts, streams, and sloughs, you can bring water directly to them. Simply drop the pump into your stream, dugout, or well, and it will begin pumping clean, filtered water into the buggy. Water buggies also require little effort to move and are self-contained—just pull the pump out of the water, roll it up, hook onto your truck or tractor and move it to your next location.

Benefits of using water buggies for livestock

  • Increased flexibility

    • Water buggies can be easily transported to different areas of the farm. This is particularly useful when implementing a Rotational Grazing management practice.

  • Increased water efficiency

    • Water buggies work on a pump system, so water is filled only when needed, reducing water waste. This also ensures the water being delivered is cool, clean, and fresh, increasing livestock uptake.

  • Improved animal health

    • It’s been shown time and again that when livestock have access to clean, cool water, health and productivity increases.

Henry Clearfab of ClearFab Manufacturing has been producing farm equipment for over 14 years. When asked why he began designing water buggies, he said, “Our goal was to keep animals out of the water. Using water buggies meant animals were drinking clean, cool water, and clean water means pounds, which means profit.”

ClearFab Manufacturing and Morand Industries are some Alberta-based companies who are currently manufacturing water buggies. If you are interested in learning more about using water buggies on your farm, they’re a good place to start.  

Interested in utilizing water buggies? You may be eligible for funding

Under the On-Farm Climate Action Fund, water buggies are eligible for funding under the Rotational Grazing Beneficial Management Practice. Please note that Beneficial Management Practices have to be new to the field farm and cannot currently be in practice.

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