# Water Systems Calculator

The following Economics of Water Systems Calculator allows beef cattle producers to:

• compare the costs and benefits of installing three different watering systems on a cow-calf operation
• evaluate the costs and benefits of installing five different watering systems to use with yearling grassers
• determine how long it will take to pay off any of these livestock water systems on an individual operation

Fecal contamination of water from cattle with direct access reduces the palatability and consumption of the water. Access to clean pumped water can improve herd health, increase weight gain and increase backfat.

Cow-calf: Research by Lardner et al. (2005) reported that suckling calves whose dams drank from water troughs gained on average 0.09 lbs per day more than calves whose dams had direct access to the dugout. Calves with access to clean pumped water were on average 18 lbs heavier at weaning time. Water and forage intake are closely related so as cows drink more water, they spend more time eating and therefore produce more milk for their calves. *

More details, calculator assumptions, scenario examples and references are available in the Canfax Research Services fact sheet: Economics of Water Systems (March 2018)

## Economics of Water Systems Calculator

Enter values into the yellow boxes., other cells are formula driven.

## Producer Information – Cow-Calf

 Daily Water Consumption per cow-calf pair (Imperial gallons per day) (check the box to use default daily water consumption or enter your estimates in the yellow cell) 15 What is your herd size? (# of cow-calf pairs) Do you need to drill a well? Yes     No Do you need to buy and install stock tanks? Yes     No Total estimated volume needed (Imperial gallons per day) 1500 Anticipated Sale Price (\$/lb) Calves \$

## Water System Information

Well

Trough

Storage Tank

The storage tank is a separate item if you want one day’s worth of water available to the trough.

 Windmill Pump System Solar-powered Pump System Underground Pipe System Price Units Price Units Price Units Windmill Pump (incl. windmill, steel tower, plastic pipe, windmill pump cylinder and battery) (check the box to use default price or enter your own numbers in the yellow cells) \$5879 Solar-powered Pump (incl. solar panel, pump, plastic pipe, battery and miscellaneous hardware) (check the box to use default price or enter your own numbers in the yellow cells) \$2170 Underground Pipe (incl. trenching and pipe, hook-ups, tank) (check the box to use default price or enter your own numbers in the yellow cells) \$8350 Well Well Well Trough Trough Trough Storage Tank Storage Tank Storage Tank Total Initial Cost \$ Total Initial Cost \$ Total Initial Cost \$ Maintenance Cost (\$/year) (enter your number in the yellow cell or check the box to use default maintenance cost) \$73 – Use Default Maintenance Cost (0.05% of total initial) Maintenance Cost (\$/year) (enter your number in the yellow cell or check the box to use default maintenance cost) \$73 – Use Default Maintenance Cost (0.05% of total initial) Maintenance Cost (\$/year) (enter your number in the yellow cell or check the box to use default maintenance cost) \$73 – Use Default Maintenance Cost (0.05% of total initial)

## Potential Additional Weight Gain – Pumped Water vs. Direct Access

While there are many potential herd health and environmental benefits from utilizing a watering system, the main economic benefit is the potential increase in weight gain.

The following is based on research by Lardner et al. (2005), which analyzed the results of pumped water versus direct access over two periods, early summer (Period 1) and late summer (Period 2).

Lardner’s research found that pumping water without treating it (via aeration or coagulation) appeared to be the most effective option for cows and calves.

(May 23-Jul 31)

(Aug 1-Sept 30)
69
61
130
0.33
0.44

22.77

26.84

49.61

0.15
0.09

10.65

5.38

16.03

23.21

11.73

34.94

*Source:Lardner et al. (2005)

## Cow – Calf Results

Benefit

(per pair per year)
Estimated Initial Cost

(per pair)
Maintenance Cost

(per pair per year)
Number of Years to Pay off Initial Cost

(excluding Maintenance)
Net Benefits in 5 Years

(per pair)
Net Benefits in 7 Years

(per pair)
Windmill Pump

years

Solar-powered Pump

years

Underground Pipe

years

#### Net Benefit in 7 Years

More details, calculator assumptions, scenario examples and references are available in the Canfax Research Services fact sheet: Economics of Water Systems (March 2018)

• It is important to note that while a numerical difference was observed in this trial these results were not found to be significantly significant.