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- A pump must be able to both deliver the required flow rate and overcome the resistance inherent in a distribution system. This resistance is referred to as total head and is generally expressed in terms of pounds per square inch (psi) or feet of head.
- The total head consists of the suction lift which is the vertical distance from water surface to pump, the elevation head which is the vertical distance from the pump to the highest elevation of water in the system, the friction loss due to friction in the lines which depends upon pipe length, size, material, number and type of pipe fittings, and water flow rate and the outlet pressure required.
- The most common livestock-powered pumping system is the nose pump. Nose pumps are a cast-iron body with a water bowl and a cast-iron lever arm. To drink from the bowl, cattle must push the lever arm out of the way with their nose to reach the water. Movement of the lever arm causes a rubber diaphragm or piston to move back and forth, creating suction to draw water to the bowl.
- Standard nose pumps are only suitable for summer use because they are not freeze protected. Frost free nose pumps are suitable for winter uses as they are designed to drain unused water below the frost level when not in use.
- Summer nose pumps can lift water a vertical distance of about 8 m (26 ft.) if they are located immediately adjacent to the water source. Frost free nose pumps use a piston to lift water and can be used for higher lifts.
- A nose pump can meet the needs of about 25 to 35 cow-calf pairs. Each stroke of the lever arm delivers about 0.5 liter of water to the bowl. Nose pumps can lift water a vertical distance of about 8 m (26 ft.) if they are located immediately adjacent to the water source.
- Nose pumps tend to be one of the more economical ways of pumping water. Since the animals themselves supply the power for pumping, there is no need for power at the site. Nose pumps are small and light so they can easily be moved from one water source to another in intensive rotational grazing systems.
- Windmills are an age-old technique for pumping water. The energy in the wind drives a propeller. The rotary motion of the propeller is used to drive a pump that moves water to a storage reservoir. Floating devices, such as sling-pumps can also be powered by wind. Wind systems must have sufficient storage capacity to maintain a constant water supply through an extended period without wind. Either water or electricity can be stored. At least 4 days of water storage is recommended when using windmills to pump water. Trees, shelterbelts and other barriers may significantly decrease the energy available to a wind-powered system.
- Where there are strong and constant currents in a stream, the energy can be used to power a pumping device. Examples of systems and devices that rely on hydraulic energy are sling-pumps, gravity flow systems and hydraulic ram pumps.
- Solar energy can be captured using photovoltaic panels using silicon cells. Solar panels are durable, have no moving parts, operate well in a wide range of temperatures, and have life expectancies exceeding 15 years. Solar pumps are most efficient when using DC power directly from the panels. Pumps may be floating, surface, or fully submersible. Storage of power with batteries or water with a storage tank is necessary to maintain these systems through long stretches of overcast conditions. Provide for at least three days of water or electricity storage.
- Gasoline or diesel powered pumps can also be an option. These pumps can be used to pump water directly from the water source to a storage tank or trough. Normally the pumps are started manually and are set up to shut off when the tank is full.
- Portable generator systems can also be used to power conventional electric pumps. These can be set up to start and stop automatically.
- In choosing the pumping system, reliability of the energy source is critical to the success of the system. Followed by reliability is the need for a system to function simply and inexpensively. Reliability becomes a critical feature once the system is operating. Cost is only an issue when purchasing the system.
- All pumping options will allow the stock cleaner water without accessing the water source itself. Value can be placed on healthier stock and a cleaner environment.
Livestock Watering Systems in Saskatchewan: Producer Experiences
Pumping Water from Remote Locations for Livestock Watering - available in PDF format only
Pumps and Watering Systems for Managed Beef Grazing
Solar-powered Water Pumping Systems for Livestock Watering - available in PDF format only
Using Gravity Energy to Pump Livestock Water - available in PDF format only
Using Livestock Energy to Pump Livestock Water - available in PDF format only
Water-Powered Water Pumping Systems for Livestock Watering - available in PDF format only
Wind Powered Water Pumping Systems for Livestock Watering - available in PDF format only
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