Building A Farm Pond For Livestock Water And Irrigation? Budget-Friendly Tips

Farms with large herds of beef cattle to manage must have safe, dependable water supplies to ensure their animals health and their own profitability. With increasing concerns about drought throughout much of the major agricultural regions of Canada, many of the affected livestock producers are searching for alternate means of water access. 

Why farm ponds and lakes work 

The addition of one or more large farm ponds or small lakes is an excellent way to ensure a stable source of water. When properly located and built, farm ponds or lakes can provide plenty of water to fill gravity fed tanks that cattle can access easily. Additionally, if equipped with a pump system, these large stored water sources can also assist farmers in irrigating the summer hay and grain crops they depend upon to feed their animals through harsh Canadian winters. 

Why the convenience factor matters 

Farmers who have decided to explore the idea of adding several farm ponds or small lakes to their property will want to carefully consider the location of each one. Since the cost of infrastructure to move the water from the pond or lake to where it is needed can greatly increase the cost of the project, it is often best to locate more small ponds closer to where they will be needed than to build just one huge one in a less convenient location. For instance, livestock producers who typically pasture their animals in a particular field during the driest months of the year will want to make sure that a pond and gravity-fed cattle water tank system is installed in that particular part of their property. 

Likewise, areas of the property that are typically used to grow hay, grain, or other crops will best benefit from a conveniently located pond or small lake capable of providing plenty of water for irrigation during the dry season.

Why soil and elevation are critical

Before beginning to dig any new pond or lake, it is important to have soil studies study performed on each location you have chosen. Ideally, soil that consists of 10 to 20 percent clay is best. Clay-based soils are sticky and able to settle and seal the sides and bottoms of the pond, helping to retain the water better than more permeable soils that have higher sand or limestone content. 

In addition to choosing areas with clay-based soil, livestock producers who are planning to build ponds on their property will want to choose locations for their ponds that can be fed by naturally occurring springs. Other ways to fill the ponds include locating them where they will receive plenty of natural water runoff from rain and melting snow to fill them. In most cases, it is not permissible to divert existing natural water supplies, such as streams or rivers to fill up a pond or lake. 

Why renting heavy equipment makes sense

Once livestock producers have decided to build ponds for their agricultural water needs and have suitable locations picked out, they may worry about the cost of purchasing the heavy equipment needed to dig the ponds, remove the excess dirt, construct the dam, and properly compress the sides and bottom of each pond site. For most, the best option will be to rent the necessary equipment instead of buying it. 

Renting the bulldozers, earthmovers, dump trucks, and other equipment needed will allow the livestock producer to time deliveries and pay for the usage of each piece of equipment only when needed. This eliminates the major investment of the initial purchase, including the construction of a shed to safely house the machine when it is idle. 

Equipment rental services also take care of maintenance, repairs, and insurance costs and absorb the depreciation as the equipment ages, all of which represent huge savings for livestock producers who may only need to use it for a specific project.

To learn more about the savings offered by opting to rent heavy equipment for use on your farm, livestock producers should contact a reputable equipment rental service in their area and ask for details.